Skip to main content

Pierre Mignard, The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons

Key facts
Full title The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons
Artist Pierre Mignard
Artist dates 1612 - 1695
Date made 1691
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 194.5 × 154.4 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Sir John Murray Scott, 1914
Inventory number NG2967
Location Room 31
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons
Pierre Mignard

In this portrait, the recently widowed Catherine-Thérèse, Marquise de Seignelay (1662–1699) and two of her five sons are shown as characters from Greek and Roman mythology. The Marquise is probably meant to be the sea goddess Thetis, but could also be interpreted as Venus, the goddess of love, with her attributes: a scallop shell and strings of pearls. Her sons are painted as Cupid, god of love, and Achilles, a Greek hero of the Trojan War. The children gaze towards a small portrait cameo, which could be of their father, alluding to his death.

For Catherine-Thérèse’s sumptuous robe, Mignard used an expensive, high-quality ultramarine blue pigment as a show of her wealth and power. The figures are surrounded by sea and different kinds of shells, references to her husband’s profession in the French royal navy. A volcano smokes in the background.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

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.

Download low-resolution image

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

Creative Commons Logo