Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Attributed to Philippe de Champaigne (Brussels 1602-1674 Paris)
This lot is offered without reserve. THIS LOT IS SOLD WITHOUT RESERVE
Attributed to Philippe de Champaigne (Brussels 1602-1674 Paris)

Portrait of an Astronomer, traditionally identified as René Descartes

Details
Attributed to Philippe de Champaigne (Brussels 1602-1674 Paris)
Portrait of an Astronomer, traditionally identified as René Descartes
oil on canvas
36¼ x 29 in. (92 x 73.5 cm.)
Provenance
John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford (1766-1839), Woburn Abbey, Bedfordshire, by 1834, and by descent to
Hastings William Sackville Russell, 12th Duke of Bedford; Christie's, London, 19 January 1951, lot 87, as 'Philippe de Champaigne'.
Literature
Descriptive catalogue of the portraits in the collection of John, Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, London, 1834, CLXXV, p. 124.
G. Scharf, A descriptive and historical catalogue of the collection of pictures at Woburn Abbey, London, 1890, pp. 86-7, no. 126, as 'Philippe de Champaigne'.
B. Dorival, Philippe de Champaigne, 1602-1674, Paris, 1976, I, pp. 129-30, 182; and II, pp. 166-7, no. 339, fig. 339, as 'Philippe de Champaigne'.
Special notice

This lot is offered without reserve.

Brought to you by

Alexandra Nicholls
Alexandra Nicholls

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

In the early nineteenth century, William Buchanan noted in the collection of a Citoyen Robit a portrait by Philippe de Champaigne of a man identified as the philosopher and mathematician René Descartes. A portrait said to depict the same sitter was offered at Christie's sale of the Earl of Bessborough's collection (5-7 February 1801, lot 35; 10-11 July 1850, lot 145). Bernard Dorival (op. cit.) mistakenly suggests that the Bessborough picture may have been identical with the present painting, which is known to have been at Woburn Abbey by 1834.

A copy of the present portrait, measuring 67 x 54 cm., was last recorded at Christie's London (20 February 1986, lot 44, as 'Follower of Philippe de Champaigne'). Alternative attributions to either Claude Lefebvre or Laurent Fauchier have been suggested.

More from Old Masters and 19th Century Art

View All
View All