Happy birthday to Simon Vouet, born on this day in 1590 in Paris. This work by Louis XIII’s court painter is the earliest and the only signed and dated version of his great series devoted to the Virgin and Child. In “Madonna and Child,” Vouet creates a monumental image of the Virgin with her son on her lap. At the same time, the artist captures a sense of immediacy and intimacy between the two figures as the active Christ Child twists toward his mother, seemingly for a kiss. The depiction of both figures against a dark background is combined with clear, bright colors and exquisitely subtle light. This image marks the beginning of the great tradition of the ‘French school’ of painting.
Simon Vouet, “Madonna and Child,” 1633, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Chester Dale Fund