de jonckheere old masters

Corneille de Lyon

Portrait of a bearded man

Panel: 17,6 x 13,5 cm


At a time when the taste for portraits was spreading across Europe, Corneille de Lyon exhibited a prodigious talent that brought him immediate and deserved success. As shown in this Portrait of a bearded man, Corneille de Lyon’s model is caught in time with the most remarkable precision and refinement, allowing the imaginative viewer to possibly guess at his most intimate thoughts.

While sobriety and temperance are applied to our model’s clothes, the artist focuses all his attention on the rendering of the face. The flesh tints are brought out through the contrast with the typical green background, thus reinforcing the interest in this charismatic face. This portrait uses the same skilful and agile technique as that employed in the Portrait of a blond man by Corneille de Lyon, kept at the Museum of Fine Arts in Agen. The features of the man in this portrait are strangely similar to our model’s (cf. A. Dubois de Groër, no. 151, p. 230).

All the elegance of Corneille de Lyon’s art can be found in this sober and delicate portrait. The unparalleled quality and delicate execution involved in this Portrait of a bearded man bear witness to the artistic qualities of this painter, who followed on from the Clouets. Contrary to many of his contemporaries, Corneille de Lyon painted freely, with no preparatory drawings, which is telling of his skill and assurance. With its transparent tones, its rapid technique and this light touch so dear to our artist, our portrait is all the more sublime and realistic.

Provenance :
Christie’s New York, 26.01.05, lot 284;
De Jonckheere Gallery;
Jean Deleage collection.

Littérature :
A. Dubois de Groër, Corneille de la Haye dut Corneille de Lyon, Paris, 1996.