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Philippe de Champaigne and studio, Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu

Key facts
Full title Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu
Artist Philippe de Champaigne and studio
Artist dates 1602 - 1674
Date made probably 1642
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 58.7 × 72.8 cm
Inscription summary Inscribed
Acquisition credit Presented by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks, 1869
Inventory number NG798
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Triple Portrait of Cardinal de Richelieu
Philippe de Champaigne and studio

This triple portrait was intended as a model for a full-length statue of Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu (1585–1642), who became Cardinal in 1622 and the Chief Minister of France in 1624. He wears a Cardinal’s robe, skull cap and blue ribbon adorned with the Order of the Holy Spirit, symbolised by the dove at the bottom of the painting. The head is repeated in this painting in three different poses: facing forward and in profile turned to the right and left. The central portrait relates to the artist’s full-length painting Cardinal de Richelieu, also in the National Gallery. The triple portrait was executed in Paris and sent to Rome to the Italian sculptor Francesco Mochi (1580–1654) in around 1642.

Champaigne probably painted the central and right heads: an inscription above the latter reads: ‘this is the better one’. The rest of the painting was likely carried out by his workshop.

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