Room 18


Most of the paintings in this room were made in Paris around the middle of the 17th century. Increasing French power and self-confidence are qualities evident in Philippe de Champaigne’s full-length portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu of 1633–40. The political ambition to make of Paris a new Rome, resulted in more French-born painters making their careers in the French capital. This trend was encouraged by the founding in 1648 of a royal academy of the arts, and by many wealthy individuals refurbishing their homes.

The greater simplicity of architecture in Paris compared to that in Italy was echoed in the paintings commissioned for the city’s buildings. A distinctly French style emerged which rejected flamboyance and strong contrasts of light and shade, instead favouring restraint, even lighting, elegance and clarity of composition. These characteristics can be seen as much in the history paintings of Eustache Le Sueur as in the more down-to-earth subjects of the Le Nain Brothers.

Paintings in this room

Sébastien Bourdon: 'The Return of the Ark'
The Return of the Ark
Sébastien Bourdon
Philippe de Champaigne: 'Cardinal de Richelieu'
Cardinal de Richelieu
Philippe de Champaigne
Philippe de Champaigne, The Annunciation, about 1644
The Annunciation
Philippe de Champaigne
Philippe de Champaigne: 'The Dream of Saint Joseph'
The Dream of Saint Joseph
Philippe de Champaigne
Philippe de Champaigne and studio: 'Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu'
Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu
Philippe de Champaigne and studio
Laurent de La Hyre: 'Allegory of Grammar'
Allegory of Grammar
Laurent de La Hyre
The Le Nain Brothers: 'Four Figures at a Table'
Four Figures at a Table
The Le Nain Brothers
Eustache Le Sueur: 'Alexander and his Doctor'
Alexander and his Doctor
Eustache Le Sueur
Joseph Parrocel: 'The Boar Hunt'
The Boar Hunt
Joseph Parrocel
Valentin de Boulogne: 'The Four Ages of Man'
The Four Ages of Man
Valentin de Boulogne
Jakob Ferdinand Voet: 'Cardinal de Retz'
Cardinal de Retz
Jakob Ferdinand Voet
Simon Vouet and studio: 'Ceres and Harvesting Cupids'
Ceres and Harvesting Cupids
Simon Vouet and studio