According to his long-time friend and biographer, Michel-François Dandré-Bardon (1700 - 1783), Carle Vanloo received the prestigious commission for the vault of the church of Saint-Louis des Invalides in 1762. The chapel was initially decorated by Michel Corneille (1642 - 1708) with paintings of the same subject; however, by the mid- eighteenth century the panels were heavily damaged by humidity and needed to be replaced. Vanloo was the logical choice, having been named Premier peintre du roi this same year and having already proved himself worthy of monumental religious painting in his series of canvases for the choir of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires in Paris (executed 1746 - 1755). Vanloo borrowed nothing from Corneille and even changed the subjects, giving them a more fluid, narrative style. Vanloo was certainly familiar with Corneille's paintings, for they were engraved by Charles Nicolas Cochin the Elder (1686 - 1754) in 1736. Futhermore, Vanloo cut his sheets and pasted them on top of Cochin's engravings so that they would serve as sculptural frames to his own compositions. In all six sheets, passages of Cochin's burin work are still visible- not entirely covered by Vanloo's compositions. The series was further perfected in seven oil sketches, which were displayed in the Salon of 1765. Vanloo's creation never came to fruition, for he died of a heart attack on July 15, 1765. His pupil, Gabriel-François Doyen, ultimately executed the series, leaving virtually no trace of Vanloo's invention. (Esther Bell 4/25/2007)
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Title:St. Gregory Reluctant to Accept His Election as Bishop of Rome
Medium:Pen and brown ink, brush and brown and gray wash, heightened with white, over traces of graphite.
Dimensions:7 5/8 x 5 1/2 in. (19.4 x 13.9 cm)
Credit Line:Harry G. Sperling Fund, 1977
Signature: Inscribed, lower left, pen and brown ink: "Carle Vanloo"
Inscription: In pen and brown ink on a strip of paper affixed to the lower margin of old mount, "St. Grégoire élû Pape, refuse le pontificat et va se cacher dans une caverne, le / Préfet et les principaux de Rome découvrent sa retraite et le ramènent à Rome / malgré lui."
Carle (Charles André) Vanloo (French), his sale, Paris, September 12, 1765, part of lot 11 (seven drawings).; Jacques Augustin de Silvestre (French); Marius Paulme; Private Collection, Paris , (possibly Deuillet ? according to Sahut and Rosenberg), sale, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, April 27, 1932, lot 39.; Private Collection, Paris , (possibly Cotnareanu ? according to Sahut and Rosenberg), sale, Paris, Palais Galliera, Dec. 14, 1960, lot 9.; Vendor: Galerie de Bayser, Paris
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "French Drawings Recently Acquired, 1975-1984," November 27, 1984–February 10, 1985.
Bean and Turcic 1986.298, Sahut and Rosenberg 1977.367
Michel François Dandré-Bardon Vie de Carle Vanloo, écuyer, chevalier de l'ordre de S. Michel, premier peintre du roi, directeur, recteur de l'Académie royale de peintre et de sculpture, et director des Élèves protégés par le roi Lue par M. Dandré Bardon dans l'assemblée du 7 septembre. Paris, 1765 (reprinted in 1973), p. 66.
Marc Sandoz "La Chapelle Saint-Grégoire de l'église Saint Louis des Invalides." in Gazette des Beaux-Arts. vol. 77, 1971, fig. no. 8, 9, pp. 129-44, ill.
Galerie de Bayser, Paris Exposition vente, dessins de maîtres anciens 1977. 5, Paris, 1977, cat. no. 27, ill.
Marie-Catherine Sahut, Pierre Rosenberg Carle Vanloo. Premier peintre du roi. Exh. cat., Nice, Musée Chéret; Clermont-Ferrand, Musée Bargoin; Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts. Nice, 1977, cat. no. 367-72, ill.
Jacob Bean "Departmental Accessions: Drawings." Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, July 1, 1977 - June 30, 1978. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. 108, New York, 1978, p. 37.
Olivier Aaron Dessins insolites du XVIIIe français. Paris, 1985, cat. no. 52, pp. 58, 59, 109,, ill.
Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turčić 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 298, pp. 263, 265, ill.
Philip Conisbee "New York French Drawings [exhibition review]." The Burlington Magazine. vol. 128, London, December 1986, p. 925.
Louis-Antoine Prat Le Dessin Français au XVIIIe siècle. Paris, 2017, 203.
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