Rare works by 17th century French artist coming to the Met

Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591-1632 Rome). 'Samson,'1630-31. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund.

Valentin de Boulogne (French, Coulommiers-en-Brie 1591-1632 Rome). ‘Samson,’1630-31. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund.

 

NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present “Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio,” a major exhibition that will run Oct. 7 through Jan. 16.

The greatest French follower of Caravaggio (1571–1610), Valentin de Boulogne (1591–1632) was also one of the outstanding artists in 17th-century Europe. In the years following Caravaggio’s death, he emerged as one of the most original protagonists of the new, naturalistic painting.

“Valentin de Boulogne: Beyond Caravaggio” will be the first monographic exhibition devoted to this artist who is little known because his career was short-lived—he died at age 41—and his works are rare. Around 60 paintings by Valentin survive, and this exhibition will bring together 45 of them, with works coming from Rome, Vienna, Munich, Madrid, London, and Paris. Exceptionally, the Musée du Louvre, which possesses the most important and extensive body of Valentin’s works, will lend all of its paintings by the artist.

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Musée du Louvre.

Not since 1973, when an exhibition of the French followers of Caravaggio was held at the French Academy in Rome and at the Grand Palais in Paris, has there been an attempt to bring the achievements of this extraordinary painter before a large public. Therefore, this exhibition will be a landmark event not only for scholars and students, but also for art lovers, who will discover one of the giants of French painting. Although he is not well known to the general public, Valentin has long been admired by those with a passion for Caravaggesque painting. His work was a reference point for the great realists of the 19th century, from Courbet to Manet, and his startlingly vibrant staging of dramatic events and the deep humanity of his figures, who seem touched by a pervasive melancholy, make his work unforgettable.