Skip to main content
Cardinal de Richelieu
Philippe de Champaigne
/

In this full-length portrait, Armand-Jean du Plessis, duc de Richelieu (1585–1642) wears the robe and skull cap of a cardinal. This position had been granted to him in 1622. His left hand lifts the robe to reveal a delicate layer of lace, also visible on his sleeves, beneath the great expanse of sumptuous red fabric. Richelieu is painted larger than life-size, although his small head is out of proportion with his body. His tall and imposing appearance is accentuated by the block of colour of his robes and their generous folds. Around his neck hangs the cross of the Order of the Holy Spirit, symbolised by the dove. On the right, a highly ornate chair with a deeply padded cushion indicates his high-ranking office as France’s Chief Minister.

Unusually, Richelieu is shown standing, as was traditional for secular figures, rather than seated, as was usual for the clergy. He holds a biretta, a cardinal’s hat, at arm’s length: this gesture embodies his dual role as a powerful figure of Church and state. The richly embroidered golden curtain has been opened to reveal the terrace and garden, beyond which may be a view of Richelieu’s château at Rueil, near Paris.

Key facts
Artist Philippe de Champaigne
Artist dates 1602 - 1674
Full title Cardinal de Richelieu
Date made 1633-40
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 259.5 x 178.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by Charles Butler, 1895
Inventory number NG1449
Location in Gallery Room 29
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo