Exhibition | Bon Boullogne

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on December 7, 2014

Press release for the exhibition:

Bon Boullogne (1649–1717): A Master of the Grand Siècle / Un chef d’école au Grand Siècle
Musée Magnin, Dijon, 5 December 2014 — 5 March 2015

Curated by Rémi Cariel and François Marandet

affichebbThis retrospective aims to rediscover the work of Bon Boullogne who, alongside Charles de La Fosse, Jean Jouvenet, Antoine Coypel and Louis de Boullogne, was one of the five most celebrated history painters at the end of the reign of Louis XIV. No paintings by Bon Boullogne was displayed during the exhibitions Les Peintres du Roi-Soleil (1968), Les Amours des Dieux (1990) and La Peinture française au Grand Siècle (1994). The art of Jouvenet, La Fosse and Coypel are known through many works; the Department of Prints and Drawing at the Musée du Louvre devoted an exhibition to the drawings of Louis de Boullogne in 2010. As for his brother, Bon, he has never been the subject of an in-depth investigation, undoubtedly because of the difficulty in bringing together his work. In fact, in 1745 Dézallier d’Argenville noted the multi-faceted character of Bon Boullogne’s creations. While it is true that his work tends to elude classification methods, he nevertheless adopted a relatively constant manner: after the 1690s a genuinely formal repertoire began to emerge. This has led to roughly thirty of his works being identified in French museums and private collections.

Bon Boullogne’s works are varied, in terms of both genre and technique. Sometimes he imitated the Bolognese School; sometimes he created pastiches of the lesser masters from the Dutch Golden Age. This unusual aspect will appear in the exhibition, as well as the considerable role that Boullogne played in teaching the next generation of painters. Not only did he shape the majority of French painters working at the turn of the century in his studio, but by increasing the numbers of mythological subjects populated with nudes, Boullogne established the artistic taste that would dominate the first half of the 18th century. This exhibition will enhance our perception of history of art, in whose name a break is said to have taken place from the time of the French Regency period. As the paintings of Bon Boullogne show, this transformation was already under way in the 1690s.

Organised by the Réunion des Musées Nationaux—Grand Palais and the Musée Magnin

Rémi Cariel, chief curator, director of the Musée Magnin; François Marandet, art historian, Bon Boullogne expert

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