The Children of the Duc de Bouillon
French, 1612 - 1695
Oil on canvas
35 x 46 3/4 in. (88.9 x 118.7 cm)
Purchase, Robert Allerton Fund, 1975 (4293.1)
Pierre Mignard worked in Rome from 1635 to 1657 as a highly respected portraitist. His fame rested on the elaborately detailed likenesses of sitters from the papal court and other important families such as that of the Duc de Bouillon. Working in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the papal court, he practiced an ostentatious and stately mode preferred at the time. The three young children depicted here appear as miniature adults in fashionable and elaborate attire rich in brocades, lace, and jewelry. The twelve-year-old girl appears with the standard attributes of women, fruits and flowers, symbols of fecundity and femininity. However, the protective gesture of one boy as he leans over his dog and the mischievousness of the second establish a mood of intimacy, creating an image of innocence and charm that led to the informality dominant in portraiture of the following century.