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Michael Angelo, Titian and Leonardo di Vinci, who lived nearly a century, bawet productions that are justly admired, and their ames are always nentioned most honourable manner, but so long a life is not necessary, the acquisition of equal celebrity, for as auch praise is bestowed on Raplies Liens de Leyden, Panl Poster and Le Sueur, who did not attain their fortieth year, aan? vét left many pictures which merittee admiration they recais. The works of Le Sueur, so far froki leading him to the tours and wealth which he ought to have an pected from het, ieft him in a state borderjag upon pezeru. His cotemporaries seansed to pay little attention to wis merit, ani in giving in what was scarcely sufficient for his subsisteiice, considered his labour's overpaid.

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HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL

NOTICE

ОР

EUSTACHE LE SUEUR.

Michael Angelo, Titian and Leonardo di Vinci, who lived nearly a century, have left productions that are justly admired, and their names are always mentioned in the most honourable manner; but so long a life is not necessary for the acquisition of equal celebrity, for as much praise is bestowed on Raphael, Lucas de Leyden, Paul Potter and Le Sueur, who did not attain their fortieth year, and yet left many pictures which merit the admiration they receive. The works of Le Sueur, so far from leading him to the honours and wealth which he ought to have expected from them, left him in a state bordering upon poverty. His cotemporaries seemed to pay little attention to his merit, and in giving him what was scarcely sufficient for his subsistence, considered his labours overpaid.

Eustache Le Sueur, who was born at Paris in 1617, was taught the principles of design by his father, a statuary but little known; but the natural genius that he evinced for painting became a sufficient motive for him to quit his father's workroom, and enter the school of Vouet, where he became the companion of Mignard and Le Brun. Nothing particular is known relative to the youthful period of this artist's life, except

HISTORICAL AND CRITICAL NOTICE

of antique statues, such pictures of Raphael as were at Paris, and engravings taken from the best productions of that master.

Le Sueur married in 1646, at the age of twenty five years; but he probably had no children, and devoted himself to different works, the most important of which are the twenty two pictures of the life of St Bruno, painted by him in the cloister of the Carthusian friars , between 1645 and 1648. Some persons who take pleasure in finding the marvellous and the romantic in every thing have pretended that if he was so ill paid for these pictures, it was because Le Sueur executed them to discharge a debt towards the Carthusians, with whom, some years before, he had found a secure asylum from proceedings which he dreaded, on account of a duel in which he dangerously wounded his adversary. Such an absurd relation is entitled to no credit, and an irrefragable proof of the lowness of price paid for the productions of Le Sueur is contained in the Isographie des hommes célèbres , in which is inserted a receipt of one hundred livres for a picture for the altar-piece of the Magdalen. This receipt is dated towards the end of 1651, when the artist had attained his thirty fifth year;

and being made out in the name of Dom Anselme, it

may be presumed that the picture in question is one of those which be executed that

year for the abbey of Marmoutiers, near Tours. The likewise undertook several pictures for the church of St Gervais, but in wbat year is not known.

Le Sueur, as well as all the painters of Paris, formed a part of the Academy of St Luke. Upon the establishment of the royal Academy of painting in 1648, he was one of the twelve ancients, that is one of those who was to deliver lectures for a month in every year.

In 1647, he was employed to paint, for the company of goldsmiths, the picture which the chiefs of that corporation presented annually, in the month of May, to the cathedral church of Paris, and which is often mentioned under the denomination

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OF EUSTACHE LE SUEUR. of mai de Notre-Dame. This picture, representing St Paul causing the books of the Gentiles to be burnt, is a chef-d'æuvre which elevates Le Sueur to the rank of the illustrious painter in whom the city of Rome glories. Le Sueur has rightly been named the Raphael of France, for no artist resembles more closely that prince of painting, by the judgment and grandeur of his compositions, by the art of casting drapery and arranging the folds of it with elegance and simplicity. Like Raphael, he possessed the skill of varying the attitudes of his heads, according to the condition, age and character of the persooages; like him, he was able to depict the affections of the soul; and like hinı too he was deficient in that vigorous tone of colouring and that perfect skill in clare-obscure, which were attributes of the Venetian and Flemish schools; but his design was wanting in that extreme

ty which forms the chief merit of Raphael. As Leveque and Taillasson have already remarked, the com. positions of Le Sueur are simple and majestic; nothing useless is introduced into them to form contrasts, to create fine assemblages of figures, or to astonish the spectator by the bustle of a theatrical scene; his paintings are composed and designed with so much taste that one might believe them to be not merely the work of art; they appear so real that they seem to be taken after nature. What Le Sueur wanted to give to his talents the full developement of which they were susceptible, was to have had, like Le Brun, grand works to execute.

The purity of Le Sueur's morals and the mildness of his disposition acquired him universal esteem; but his talents raised up envious persons against him, whilst his modesty and strict integrity prevented him seeking the support of powerful patrons; he was, however, in favour with M. Lambert de Thorigny, who employed him eleven years in painting different apartments of bis mansion. He had scarcely terminated his labours when in the month of May, 1655, he died of a consump

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