Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Baptism of Christ

Artist:
Sébastien Bourdon (French, Montpellier 1616–1671 Paris)
Date:
ca. 1650
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
Overall 59 3/4 x 46 1/2 in. (151.8 x 118.1 cm); painted surface (oval) 59 1/8 x 45 1/2 in. (150.2 x 115.6 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, George T. Delacorte Jr. Gift, 1974
Accession Number:
1974.2
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 617
A follower of Poussin, Bourdon was one of the principal exponents of classicism in French seventeenth-century painting. This canvas was probably painted for the private chapel of one of the artist’s patrons. The cool colors, soft surfaces, and hazy atmosphere are all characteristic of Bourdon’s mature style.
Eric James Desmond Alexander, 5th Earl of Caledon, London (until 1939; his sale, Christie's, London, June 9, 1939, no. 15, for £56.14.0 to Sandor); [Ettore Viancini, Venice, until 1973; sold to Heim]; [Heim, London, 1973–74; sold to MMA]
Montpellier. Musée Fabre. "Sébastien Bourdon, 1616–1671," July 7–October 15, 2000, no. 102.

Musées de Strasbourg. "Sébastien Bourdon, 1616–1671," November 25, 2000–February 4, 2001, no. 102.

Pierre Rosenberg. Letter to Anthony Clark. December 18, 1973, calls it a masterpiece by Bourdon.

Anthony M. Clark in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 95, ill.

Pierre Rosenberg. France in the Golden Age: Seventeenth-century French Paintings in American Collections. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1982, p. 347, no.2, ill. [French ed., La peinture française du XVIIe siècle dans les collections américaines, Paris, 1982].

Jacques Thuillier. Sébastien Bourdon, 1616–1671: Catalogue critique et chronologique de l'oeuvre complet. Exh. cat., Musée Fabre, Montpellier. Paris, 2000, p. 248, no. 102, ill., calls its monumentality and powerful modeling early signs of the artist's transition towards an art more concerned with gravity than with charm.



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