Portrait of an Ecclesiastic

Jean Fouquet (French, Tours ca. 1425–ca. 1478 Tours)

ca. 1461
Metalpoint, black chalk on white prepared paper
7 13/16 x 5 5/16 in. (19.8 x 13.5 cm.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Knower, Bequest of Ogden Mills, and Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, by exchange, 1949
Accession Number:
  • Description

    Although the inscription describes the sitter as "A Roman legate of our Holy Father in France," there has been no satisfactory identification of this man. The drawing, an outstanding and rare survival of a fifteenth-century French work on paper, is by the painter and illuminator Jean Fouquet. Fouquet was patronized by the highest classes, as his home city of Tours was the preferred residence of the French royal court. In this sheet, the figure is placed to the left in three-quarter view, giving the legate a distance appropriate to his rank. This distance is balanced by the descriptive, sculptural treatment of the face and the psychological characterization therein. Fouquet was one of the first Northern artists to recognize and incorporate the artistic innovations of fifteenth-century Italy into the prevailing Franco-Flemish style, as manifested in the combination of monumentality and descriptive detail seen here. Fouquet's sheet is also an early survival of the portrait drawing genre, which gained great importance and popularity in France in the sixteenth century. In modern times, this drawing has always been considered a masterpiece. When it was sold at auction in 1936, it fetched the highest price paid for a drawing to that date.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in metalpoint, at upper right: "Ung Roumain/ legat de n [?]/ . . . St pere/ en France"; in pen and brown ink on verso, "37/ BAC no.31"; in graphite: "P.HL./ Prosper Henry Lankrinck/ Page to King Charles I./ Collector."

    Marking: Collector's mark, lower right: PHL (Prosper Henry Lankrink; Lugt 2090)

  • Provenance

    Prosper Henry Lankrink (London 1628–1692); John Postle Heseltine (British, London 1843–1929 London); Henry Oppenheimer (British (born America), Washington, D.C. 1859–1932 London); Christie's, London, July 10, 13–14, 1936, lot 428 (£10,710 to Duveen); Vendor: Lord Duveen (1936–1949)

  • Exhibition History

    Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Diamond Jubilee Exhibition, Masterpieces of Drawing (Philadelphia)," November 4, 1950–February 11, 1951.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 14, 1970–February 14, 1971.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 1986–January 4, 1987.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 21, 1995–November 26, 1995.

    Bibliothèque Nationale de France. "Jean Fouquet, Peintre et enlumineur du XVe siecle," March 24, 2003–June 15, 2003.

  • Catalogue Raisonné

    Bean and Turcic 1986.110

  • References

    Grafton Galleries, London National Loan Exhibition Exh. cat. Grafton Galleries. London, 1909-1910, cat. no. 119, p. 113.

    Terisio Pignatti Il disegno: da Altamira a Picasso. Milan, 1981, p. 100, ill.

    Le Dessin français du XIII au XVI siècle. Paris, 1930, fig. no. pl. 19, pp. 19, 70, ill.

    Drawings of Deceased Masters. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1917, cat. no. 64, p. 22.

    "The Picture Galley and the Print Room (in A Report to the Trustees on the Buildings and Growth of the Collections)." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 8, no. 10, New York, MMA, June 1950, p. 302.

    Golden Gate International Exhibition, Official Catalogue of Art. Exh. cat. Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, 1940, cat. no. 432a, pp. 94, 103, ill.

    Palais National des Arts, Paris Chefs d'oeuvre de l'art français Exh. cat. Paris, 1937, cat. no. 437, fig. no. pl. 91, ill.

    Grete Ring A Century of French Painting, 1400-1500. London, 1949, cat. no. 139, fig. no. pl. 92, p. 241, ill.

    Klaus G. Perls Jean Fouquet . . .. Paris, 1940, fig. no. pl. 282, p. 22, ill.

    Sir Trenchard Cox Jean Fouquet, Native of Tours. London, 1931, fig. no. pl. 50, pp. 55, 133, ill.

    "Eightieth Annual Report of the Trustees for the year 1949: Reports of the Departments." in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, n.s. vol. 9, New York, Summer 1950, p. 27, ill.

    Max J. Friedländer Preussiche Jahrbücher. vol. 31, 1910, fig. no. 2, pp. 227-230, ill.

    Georges Lefenestre Jean Fouquet. Paris, 1905, pp. 71, 27, ill.

    Henri Bouchot L'Exposition des primitifs français, la peinture en France sous les Valois. Paris, 1904, cat. no. 44, fig. no. pl. XXXVIII, p. 20, ill.

    Jacob Bean, Lawrence Turcic 15th-18th Century French Drawings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1986, cat. no. 110, p. 107, ill.

    The Vasari Society for the Reproduction of Drawings by Old Masters: part 9 first series (1905-15). The Vasari Society for the Reproduction of Drawings by Old Masters, 1913-14, cat. no. 25, ill.

    Commemorative Catalogue of the Exhibition of French Art, 1200-1900

    January - March, 1932. Royal Academy of Arts, London, Oxford and London, 1933, cat. no. 541, fig. no. pl. 149, p. 121, ill.

    Pantheon. vol. 18, July 1936, p. 328, ill.

    Charles Sterling La peinture française. Les peintres du moyen age. 1, Paris, 1941, cat. no. 6, fig. no. pl. 54, p. 18, ill.

    Charles Sterling "Book review of Klaus Perl's Jean Fouquet, Paris, 1940." Art Bulletin. vol. 38, June 1946, p. 129.

    Hans Tietze European Master Drawings in the United States. J. J. Augustin, New York, 1947, cat. no. 5, pp. 10-11, ill.

    One Hundred Master Drawings [to accompany "Seventy master drawings," a loan exhibition at the Fogg Museum of Art, Nov. 1948-Jan. 1949, held on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Paul J. Sachs, and 30 additional drawings from the museum's collections]
    . edited by Agnes Mongan, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1949, pp. 12, 13, ill.

    Diamond Jubilee Exhibition: Masterpieces of Drawings. Exh. cat., November 4, 1950 - February 11, 1951. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1950, cat. no. 10, ill.

    Regina Shoolman, Charles E. Slatkin Six Centuries of French Master Drawings in America. Oxford University Press, New York, 1950, fig. no. pl. 2, p. 4, ill.

    French Painting, 1100-1900 Exh. cat. Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, October 18-December 2, 1951, cat. no. 130, ill.

    L'Association Française d'Action Artistique, Smithsonian Institution French Drawings, Masterpieces from Five Centuries. A loan exhibition, cirulated to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the City Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1952, cat. no. 3, fig. no. pl. 2, ill.

    Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1952, cat. no. 61, fig. no. 61, pp. 68, 222, ill.

    "MMA Bulletin" French Drawings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, vol. 17, no. 6, New York, February 1959, p. 164, ill.

    Jacob Bean 100 European Drawings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York Graphic Society, New York, 1964, cat. no. 51, ill.

    William D. Wixom Treasures from Medieval France. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art, 1967. Cleveland, 1967, cat. no. 8, p. 308, ill.

    Sir Kenneth Clark Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. Exh. cat., November 14, 1970 - February 14, 1971. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, E. P. Dutton and Company, New York, 1970, cat. no. 168, p. 189.

    Robert Beverly Hale, Terence Coyle Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters. New York, 1977, pp. 208-209, ill.

    Philip Conisbee "New York French Drawings [exhibition review]." The Burlington Magazine. vol. 128, London, December 1986, p. 924.

    François Avril Jean Fouquet, Peintre et enlumineur du XVe siecle Ex. cat. Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, March 25 - June 22, 2003, cat. no. 13, pp. 147-48, ill.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History