PIERRE MIGNARD (circle of)
Troyes 1612-Paris 1695
oil on canvas, cm 80,5×160,5
The reference to the “antique Roman bas-reliefs” invoked by Giancarlo Sestieri in his description of this work, recently exhibited in a show dedicated to the painting genre of the ‘battle’, is very fitting. In fact, the battle with ‘antique-style’ costumes features a typically classical horizontal development, and also the heroic personality shown bare-chested, his hair blown back by the wind, who appears absorbed in a hand-to-hand fight in the foreground is also undoubtedly inspired by classical statues. This particular battle has by retraced by Sestieri to a follower of Pierre Mignard, a famous portraitist and rival of Charles Le Brun at the royal court of France; the usual raising of dust and clamour of the furious frays ideated by Seventeenth-century ‘battle painters’ is here replaced by a world of noble valour and pure, glazed colours, which is already a prelude to the neoclassical turn of the middle of the Eighteenth century. A painting that is, in our opinion, the work of the same author, featuring David who cuts off the head of Goliath, has been presented in the antiquarian market, by no chance with the same attribution to the circle of Mignard (Sotheby’s, 5 October 2001, no. 43).
“Pugnae – La guerra nell’arte”, exhibition catalogue edited by Giancarlo Sestieri, Budai Editore, Foligno, 2008, pp. 106-107.