The Virgin Placing St. Teresa of Avila Under the Protection of St. Joseph

François Guillaume Ménageot French

Not on view

This oil sketch is a study for a painting commissioned in 1784 for the chapel of the Carmelites at Saint-Denis by Madame Louise de France, daughter of King Louis XV, now in the Hôtel-Dieu, Québec.Ménageot created this oil sketch of Saint Teresa of Avila, a well-known reformer and Carmelite nun, in preparation for the larger painting.

Ménageot's quick brushwork creates an atmospheric, gray space, and the dark clouds in which the Virgin and Joseph sit loosely convey a sense of bulk and mass, whereas the table and foreground elements are more dryly executed. Infrared photography shows stiff outlines in the underdrawing, suggesting that Ménageot employed a transfer process to lay down the design, yet did not follow them exactly with the oil paint.
Ménageot, who studied with both Jean Baptiste Henri Deshays and François Boucher, won the prestigious Prix-de-Rome in 1766 and became the director of the Académie de France in Rome in 1787. He resigned only five years later amid the upheavals of the French Revolution and moved to the Italian town of Vincenza.

The Virgin Placing St. Teresa of Avila Under the Protection of St. Joseph, François Guillaume Ménageot (French, London 1744–1816 Paris), Oil paint over pen and brown ink, on paper, mounted on canvas

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