Simon Vouet

Simon Vouet was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France.

He spent an extensive period of time in Italy, from 1613 to 1627. He was mostly in Rome where the Baroque style was emerging during these years. He received a pension from the King of France and his patrons included the Barberini family, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Paolo Giordano Orsini and Vincenzo Giustiniani.

He also visited other parts of Italy: Venice; Bologna, Genoa and Naples. He was a natural academic, who absorbed what he saw and studied, and distilled it in his painting. Despite his success in Rome, Vouet suddenly returned to France in 1627, following pressing recommendations from the Duc de Béthunes and a summons from the King.

In Paris, Vouet was the fresh dominating force in French painting, producing numerous public altarpieces and allegorical decors for private patrons. Vouet's sizeable atelier or workshop produced a whole school of French painters for the following generation. His most influential pupil was Charles le Brun, who organized all the interior decorative painting at Versailles and dictated the official style at the court of Louis XIV of France, but who jealously excluded Vouet from the Académie Royale in 1648.