French Collection

Reliquary Arm
Reliquary Arm

Reliquary Arm

French
12th century
c. 1150–1200 (crystal possibly added in the 15th century)
Silver, champlevé enamel on copper, gilt bronze, wood core, glass cabochons, and crystal
24 7/16 x 6 x 3 7/8 in. (62.1 x 15.3 x 9.9 cm)
AP 1979.25
The veneration of the physical remains of saints––or objects with which they had come into contact—began to be practiced during the Early Christian era. In A.D. 393, the Church decreed that every altar must have a relic.
Reliquary Casket
Reliquary Casket

Reliquary Casket

French
13th century
c. 1200–1220
Champlevé enamel on copper, wood core
8 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 4 1/8 in. (22.6 x 24.2 x 10.5 cm)
AP 1979.26
A major center of the manufacture and export of exquisitely crafted reliquaries in the Middle Ages was Limoges, located in southwestern France along several ecclesiastical and pilgrimage routes.
Miniature Casket
Miniature Casket

Miniature Casket

French
13th century
c. 1250–1300
Champlevé enamel on copper
3 9/16 x 3 1/16 x 1 5/8 in. (9 x 7.7 x 4.2 cm)
AP 1979.27
The enameled decoration of this fine casket, produced in Limoges, features scrolling vines with fleurons on all four sides and lozenge patterns on the pitched roof.
The Barnabas Altarpiece
The Barnabas Altarpiece

The Barnabas Altarpiece

Southwestern French or Northern Spanish (?)
(13–14th century)
Southwestern French or Northern Spanish (?), 13–14th century
c. 1275–1350
Tempera, oil, and gold on panel
Left: 35 13/16 x 14 3/8 in. (91 x 36.5 cm) Center: 35 13/16 x 22 7/16 in. (91 x 57 cm) Right: 35 13/16 x 14 9/16 in. (91 x 37 cm) Framed: 41 7/8 x 60 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. (106.4 x 153 x 5.7 cm)
AP 1969.06 a,b,c
These three panels are fragments of a once-larger ensemble, which has been named The Barnabas Altarpiece because of the inscriptions on its lower border alluding to an unidentified Bishop Barnabas.
Venus and Adonis
Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis

Nicolas Poussin
French (1594–1665)
17th century
c. 1628–29
Oil on canvas
38 3/4 x 53 in. (98.5 x 134.6 cm) Framed: 53 5/8 x 67 3/4 x 5 in. (136.2 x 172.1 x 12.7 cm)
AP 1985.01
Early in his career Poussin traveled to Italy and was introduced to a circle of important Roman patrons including the antiquarian Cassiano dal Pozzo. Poussin’s classicism, nurtured by his knowledge of antique literature and art, was warmed by his study of Venetian painting.
Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene
Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene

Saint Sebastian Tended by Irene

Attributed to Georges de La Tour
French (1593–1652)
17th century
early 1630s
Oil on canvas
41 1/4 x 54 7/8 in. (104.8 x 139.4 cm) Framed: 50 x 64 3/8 x 3 3/4 in. (127 x 163.5 x 9.5 cm)
AP 1993.04
Saint Sebastian––a Roman soldier who suffered martyrdom around A.D. 300––was nursed by the pious Irene, who, upon discovering him still alive, tenderly removed the arrows that pierced his body.
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs

Georges de La Tour
French (1593–1652)
17th century
c. 1630-34
Oil on canvas
38 1/2 x 61 1/2 in. (97.8 x 156.2 cm) Framed: 49 x 72 x 5 in. (124.5 x 182.9 x 12.7 cm)
AP 1981.06
One of the greatest masterpieces of seventeenth-century French art, Georges de La Tour’s Cheat with the Ace of Clubs takes as its subject the danger of indulgence in wine, women, and gambling.
Coast Scene with Europa and the Bull
Coast Scene with Europa and the Bull

Coast Scene with Europa and the Bull

Claude Lorrain
French (c. 1604/5–1682)
17th century
1634
Oil on canvas
67 1/4 x 78 5/8 in. (170.8 x 199.7 cm) Framed: 80 5/8 x 91 1/2 x 6 in. (204.8 x 232.4 x 15.2 cm)
AP 1981.08
Claude Lorrain, the greatest artist of the classical school of European landscape painting, raised this previously secondary genre to a new level of sophistication and prestige.
The Sacrament of Ordination (Christ Presenting the Keys to Saint Peter)
The Sacrament of Ordination (Christ Presenting the Keys to Saint Peter)

The Sacrament of Ordination (Christ Presenting the Keys to Saint Peter)

Nicolas Poussin
French (1594–1665)
17th century
c. 1636-40
Oil on canvas
37 3/4 x 47 7/8 in. (95.9 x 121.6 cm)
AP 2011.01
The Sacrament of Ordination is from one of the most celebrated groups of paintings in the entire history of art. The set depicting each of the Seven Sacraments was commissioned from Poussin by the antiquarian Cassiano dal Pozzo, secretary to Cardinal Francesco Barberini.
Peasant Interior with an Old Flute Player
Peasant Interior with an Old Flute Player

Peasant Interior with an Old Flute Player

Louis (or Antoine?) Le Nain
French (c. 1600/1603–1648)
17th century
c. 1642
Oil on canvas
21 5/16 x 24 7/16 in. (54.1 x 62.1 cm) Framed: 28 1/2 x 32 x 4 1/2 in. (72.4 x 81.3 x 11.4 cm)
AP 1984.22
The Le Nain brothers––Antoine, Louis, and Mathieu––were born in Laon and settled in the artist’s community of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in Paris, by 1629. The brothers were founding members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1648.
Pastoral Landscape
Pastoral Landscape

Pastoral Landscape

Claude Lorrain
French (c. 1604/5–1682)
17th century
1677
Oil on canvas
22 1/2 x 32 3/8 in. (57.2 x 82.2 cm) Framed: 32 x 41 5/8 x 3 1/2 in. (81.3 x 105.7 x 8.9 cm)
APx 1967.04
This is one of at least nine paintings that Claude created for Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna, a great connoisseur and collector, between 1663 and 1682.
Heureux age! Age d'or (Happy Age! Golden Age)
Heureux age! Age d'or (Happy Age! Golden Age)

Heureux age! Age d'or (Happy Age! Golden Age)

Jean-Antoine Watteau
French (1684–1721)
18th century
c. 1716–20
Oil on panel
8 x 9 5/16 in. (20.3 x 23.6 cm) Framed: 14 3/4 x 16 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (37.5 x 41.9 x 7 cm)
AP 1981.05
As a young man, Watteau came to Paris from Valenciennes, a Flemish town that had recently come under French rule.
Young Student Drawing
Young Student Drawing

Young Student Drawing

Jean Siméon Chardin
French (1699–1779)
18th century
c. 1738
Oil on panel
8 1/4 x 6 3/4 in. (21 x 17.1 cm) Framed: 15 1/4 x 13 7/8 x 3 in. (38.7 x 35.2 x 7.6 cm)
AP 1982.07
Adapting the subjects of Dutch cabinet pictures and still lifes of the previous century to French taste, Chardin elevated these genres to the very highest level. His works are exceptional in their sentient depiction of everyday experience and observed reality.
La Simplicité (Simplicity)
La Simplicité (Simplicity)

La Simplicité (Simplicity)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze
French (1725–1805)
18th century
1759
Oil on canvas
28 x 23 1/2 in. (71.1 x 59.7 cm) Framed: 35 1/8 x 30 1/2 x 3 in. (89.2 x 77.5 x 7.6 cm)
AP 1985.03
Jean-Baptiste Greuze achieved fame for his morally uplifting narrative paintings, but he was equally adept working in the pastoral, erotic mode brought to refinement by François Boucher.
The Pond
The Pond

The Pond

Jean-Honoré Fragonard
French (1732–1806)
18th century
c. 1761–65
Oil on canvas
25 3/4 x 28 3/4 in. (65.4 x 73.1 cm) Framed: 33 1/4 x 36 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (84.5 x 92.7 x 8.9 cm)
AP 1968.03
Fragonard was the last and perhaps the greatest of the French Rococo painters. A pupil of François Boucher, from whom he developed his fluent handling of paint, he produced some of the most masterful and hedonistic decorations of the eighteenth century.
The River Rhine Separating the Waters
The River Rhine Separating the Waters

The River Rhine Separating the Waters

Clodion (Claude Michel)
French (1738–1814)
18th century
1765
Terracotta
11 x 18 x 12 in. (27.9 x 45.7 x 30.5 cm)
AP 1984.05
One of the outstanding sculptors of his age, Claude Michel, better known as Clodion, is today most admired for his small-scale terracottas.

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