The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
The abbé de Saint-Cyran
  • After Philippe de Champaigne (1602 - 1674)
  • The abbé de Saint-Cyran
  • c.1644-54
  • Painting
  • Oil on panel
  • Image size: 16.5 x 11.4 cm
  • Inscription: 'Mre JEAN DV VERGER DE HAVRANNE / ABBÉ de St Ciran decedé l'II.e d'oct.re 1643 agé de / 62 ans.'
  • P645
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Jean Duvergier de Hauranne, abbé de Saint-Cyran (1581-1643) became spiritual director of the Jansenist convent of Port-Royal in Paris in 1636. He was imprisoned by Richelieu at Vincennes 1638-42, and died the year following his release. The abbé would not allow his portrait to be painted during his lifetime, but after his death Champaigne was commissioned to produce a posthumous portrait of the movement’s spiritual leader. He copied the abbé’s likeness from his death mask, producing an appropriately austere image, reminiscent of a medieval chef reliquary (1647-8; Grenoble, Musée des Beaux-Arts). It became well-known through an engraving by J. Morin, and the Wallace Collection’s picture is one of a large number of versions and copies after Champaigne’s original portrait. It was probably acquired by the 3rd Marquess of Hertford, as it very much accords with his taste for historical portraits, and for small works on panel.