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Leonard Limousin

Mar - 10 - 2013
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Leonard Limousin

Leonard Limousin – Portrait of Anne First Duke of Montmorency (1493-1567) 1556

Leonard Limousin is a French painter. The artist was born in 1505 and died there in 1577, he Limoges. The most accomplished member of a prominent Limoges family of enamelers, he is known for the revealing realism of the portraits he painted on Limoges ware. His earliest authenticated work is his Passion of the Lord (1532), a series of 18 enamel plaques after prints by Albrecht Dürer. He was later influenced by the Italian Mannerists who worked at Fontainebleau for Francis I, whom Limosin served as court painter. He was also an accomplished painter in oils.

Working the beginning

Bathers, in the municipal museum of Châlons-en-Champagne

Leonard began to work around 1530, first painting religious subjects, like other enamelers of his generation in Limoges, the Penicauds and Pierre Reymond.Twoexamplesfrom a series of plaques representing the Passion, the Way to Calvary, and the Last Judgment, after engravings by Dfirer, came to the Metropolitan
Museum with the Bache collection. This series bears the date of 1533 and is possibly Leonard’s first work of importance. Even here, when he is still following the rather anonymous tradition of his craft, the brilliance of his technique and the elegance and freedom of his design already distinguished his style. Leonard, who was in- cidentally also a painter and engraver, went about 1535 to work at Fontainebleau. There he found Il Rosso, who had been called from Italy in 1530 by Francis I, and with him a whole
workshop of Italian artists, like Primaticcio and Francesco Pellegrino, dispensing all the new charms of their imaginative and elegant style. And in the royal galleries,
which were quickly becoming the spreading center of the French Renaissance, Leonard got acquainted with all the troubling sensitivity of Italian man- nerism. He also found there all those “peintres et gens de metier” of Flemish education who had recently entered the “etat des officiers do- mestiques”: Francois Clouet, the son of the fa- mous Janet, Guillaume Boutelou, Rene Tiber- geau, the two Le Manniers, and many others. Italy and Flanders met at Fontainebleau and in Paris with a strange harmony.
Under Francis I the fashion of the “portrais- ture” was at its beginning. The new reign of Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici, which com- menced in 1547, was to be the
golden age of the “crayons.”

Artist’s Last Years

His last signed works bear the date 1574, but the date of his death is uncertain, though it could not have been later than the beginning of 1577. It is on record that he executed close upon two thousand enamels. He is best represented at the Louvre, which owns his two famous votive tablets for the Sainte Chapelle, each consisting of twenty-three plaques, signed L. L. and dated 1553; La Chasse, depicting Henry II on a white horse, Diane de Poitiers behind him on horseback; and many portraits, including the kings by whom he was employed, Marguerite de Valois, the duc de Guise, and the cardinal de Lorraine. Other representative examples are at the Cluny and Limoges museums. In England some magnificent examples of his work are to be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the Wallace Collection. In the collection of Signor Rocchi, in Rome, is an exceptionally interesting plaque representing Frances I consulting a fortuneteller.

Resources on the Internet
DECORATIVE PORTRATS BY LEONARD LIMOUSIN
The English-language Wikipedia


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