A blue-eyed man with a brown beard gazes past us. The date, 1543, appears in the top right-hand corner. The sitter has been identified from this portrait’s resemblance to a drawing in the Musée Condé, Chantilly. He is almost certainly Jehannot d‘Andoins, soldier, courtier and intimate of the French royal family.
The artist, François Clouet, was a highly successful portrait painter to the French court from 1540 to his death in 1572. The collection of portrait drawings at Chantilly includes works by both François and his father Jean Clouet, also a portraitist. They may have been the stock of drawings left in François’ workshop at the time of his death.
It seems probable that the drawing which corresponds to this painting may be the work of François himself, while the painting was possibly created in the workshop which he had inherited from his father in 1541.
A blue-eyed man with a brown beard gazes past us. He is stylishly dressed. His black hat has pearls in golden settings around the brim and sports a white and black feather, and his black jacket is decorated with twisted golden cords and silver buttons. His red sleeves are slashed and trimmed with golden piping. The date, 1543, appears in the top right-hand corner.
The sitter has been identified from this portrait’s resemblance to a drawing in the Musée Condé, Chantilly, which is inscribed ‘Monsieur d’Andoins‘. There is a close correspondence between the painting and the drawing, although they are not on the same scale and there are other slight differences. In the drawing, his moustache and beard are arranged differently and his clothes have been updated, seemingly reworked to reflect more recent fashions; the painting follows the drawing as it was before being reworked. Another drawing at Chantilly seems to show the same man at a younger age.
The lords of Andoins were powerful nobles of the viscounty of Béarn, south-west France. Their title comes from the village of Andoins, about 10 kilometres east of Pau, the capital of Béarn from the mid-fifteenth century. In the mid-sixteenth century, when this picture was painted, there were two brothers who might have been known as ’Monsieur d‘Andoins’: Jehannot and Paul. Jehannot may have been born in 1510, was married in 1539 and died in 1545; Paul seems to have been considerably younger. The sitter in this portrait may well be about 35 years old – Jehannot would have been about this age in 1543, when Paul was probably still in his early twenties.
Jehannot was a soldier and courtier at the French court and on intimate terms with the royal family. The boys‘ father was ambassador of Navarre and a friend of Francis I, King of France. The boys were brought up with Francis’ children and Jehannot married one of the ladies-in-waiting of his wife, Eleanor of Austria.
The artist, François Clouet, followed his father Jean as a highly successful portrait painter at the French court. The collection at Chantilly includes drawings by both father and son; like other artists of the period the Clouets accumulated stocks of drawings for later use. The Chantilly drawings may have been the stock left in François‘ workshop at the time of his death. The drawing which corresponds to this painting may well be by François himself, while the painting was possibly created in the workshop which he had inherited from his father in 1541.
The picture is painted on an oak board, which was covered with a white chalk ground. Over this is a thin layer of lead white priming. Infrared reflectograms reveal a rather hard, schematic drawing in the face – probably the result of ’fixing' tracing or pouncing made using a cartoon – though the drawing of the collar looks freehand.
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