Ste Cécile (Saint Cecilia) by Jacques Bouillard, possibly after a drawing by Jean Dubois, le jeune, or by his brother, Louis Dubois, le jeune, of a painting by Pierre Mignard I, 18th century. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
possibly after a drawing by Jean Dubois, le jeune, painter, 1645-1694, or by his brother, Louis Dubois, le jeune, painter, 1646-1702, of a painting by Pierre Mignard I, called Mignard le Romain, portrait and history painter, 1612-1695
Saint Cecilia, the patroness of music, plays a harp while a cherub stands at her knee and holds an open book of music. Her turban and dress are decorated with jewels and she casts her eyes heavenward. She is seated on a terrace bordered by a low wall and colonnade through which is a view of a landscape with a house on a distant hill. Next to her chair at the left is a cloth-covered table against which is a viol. On the floor at the right are an oboe, a recorder, a timbrel (tambourine), and books.
From the Nicholas S. Lander Web site, Recorder Iconography, here is a description of the painting by Pierre Mignard (1612-1695) on which this etching was based: "St Cecilia playing the Harp (1691), oil on canvas, 74 × 56 cm, Pierre Mignard.... Paris: Louvre, Inv. 6641. Looking heavenward, St Cecilia plays the double harp; a cherub at her side sings from a music book. Leaning against a table beside her is a viol; on the floor lie an oboe, a timbrel, and a baroque alto recorder with ivory mounts. Elements of this work found their way into the frontispiece of Handel's 'Alexander' (1726) engraved by John Cluer (?-1728) and again for the title page of Handel's 'Admeto' (1727)."
Compare with 97/V, also an image of Saint Cecilia, but after Raphael. See also 602/N, Philippe II et sa Maitresse, after Titian, by an engraver who spelled his name the same way, "Bouilliard." Undoubtedly, these two prints are by the same artist, probably Jacques Bouillard (ca. 1747-1806). Note the similarity of the fine stippling and curved strokes in the faces of the women in each print, as well as the way in which the hands are drawn.
About the Artists
Jacques Bouillard, engraver and painter, ca. 1747-1806
There is no artist named "Bouilliard" in Bénézit, though an engraver's name on another print in the Miller collection, 602/N, is spelled the same way. The only possibility seems to be Jacques Bouillard, a French engraver and painter, who was born about 1747 at Versailles, and who died in Paris in 1806. He was approved by the Académie Royale in 1788, but never became an Academician. Bouillard exhibited mostly engravings in the annual Salons. In 1806, he exhibited a Portrait of the Emperor.
Jean Dubois, le jeune, painter, 1645-1694, or his brother, Louis Dubois, le jeune, painter, 1646-1702
The identity of the draughtsman of this work is uncertain. In Bénézit, there seem to be two possibilities, the brothers Jean Dubois (1645-1694) and Louis Dubois (1646-1702), the sons of Jean Dubois the elder (1604-1676), and both sons were known as "le jeune" or "the younger." Both were painters born at Fontainebleau where Mignard worked for a period of time. There is very little biographical information on either of the brothers. Louis XIII appointed the elder Jean Dubois to preserve the paintings by his father (the painter Ambroise Bosschaert, called Dubois, 1543-1614), who was painter ordinary to Henri IV. In 1674, Jean the younger was appointed to take over these same duties. Louis, his brother, was painter ordinary to the king and was the concierge of the House of Fontaine. The Musée de Saint-Lo has a signed canvas by Louis Dubois entitled Caritas Romana.
Pierre Mignard I, called Mignard le Romain, portrait and history painter, 1612-1695
Pierre Mignard was born in Troyes in 1612, and he died in Paris in 1695. His early training was with the painter, Jean Boucher (ca. 1575-1633), in Bourges. As a youth, he traveled to the chateau of Fontainbleau where he copied many 16th-century decorative works. By 1633, Mignard had entered the Paris studio of Simon Vouet (1590-1649), who painted in the Italian Baroque style. Two years later, in 1635, Mignard left for Italy where he lived until 1657. In these years, Mignard achieved renown as a portrait painter. He also painted historical and religious subjects, especially Madonnas. On his way back to France in 1657, Mignard stayed in Avignon where he met Molière, whose portrait he painted. Mignard also painted many portraits of Louis XIV at Fontainbleau and, in Paris, his reputation as a fine portrait painter was firmly established. One of Mignard's most ambitious works was the fresco decoration of the cupola of the chapel at Val-de-Grâce, painted between 1662 and 1666, which contained over 200 figures honoring the French royal family. Mignard's late paintings included some large religious and historical works, portraits and group portraits, and decorations at Saint-Cloud. With the death of his principal rival, Charles Le Brun (1609-1690), First Painter to the King, Mignard succeeded Le Brun as First Painter to the King, and he was also given all of Le Brun's other positions and honors. At the end of his very long life, Mignard's final works included decorative paintings for Les Invalides and ceiling decorations for one of the king's apartments at Versailles.
- See Nicholas S. Lander, Recorder Iconography, under Pierre Mignard. A link to an image of this painting can be found in the same entry. [back to article]
- The biographical information given here on Mignard is drawn from an article by Lada Nikolenko, "Pierre Mignard I [Mignard le Romain]," in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online (subscription only). [back to article]