Jean Fouquet

Audrey Reber

The art of living the artist life.

The french artist Jean Fouquet was born in c. 1420 in Tours, France. He spent most of life in his birthplace but eventually he accompanied a couple year long French mission to Rome in 1446 where he was subjected to the Florentine style. It had a lasting effect on his own. Born as the son of a priest, Fouquet probably received his early training in Paris as a manuscript illuminator. A manuscript illuminater is an artist who decorates text with illuminations such as initials, borders, and miniature illustrations.
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Not only was he a manuscript illuminater but he was also made official court painter in 1474 by Louis XI. He created many impressive paintings such as Hours of Etienne Chevalier; Visitation, Guillaume Jouvenal des Ursins, Baron de Trainel and Chancellor of France, and his Self-portrait medallion which is thought to be the earliest clearly identified self-portrait that is a separate painting. (not an incidental part of a larger work.)

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After Fouquet returned to France from his mission to Rome, he opened a workshop in Tours. He received commissions from Charles VII, members of his court, and from Louis XI. Marie of Cleves, Etienne Chevalier, Roman Pope Eugenius IV, and Guillaume Jouvenal des Ursins were also patrons of the talented french artist. Jean Fouquet eventually died in Tours before Nov. 8, 1481.
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Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins, Baron de Trainel and Chancellor of France

Jean Fouquet painted a beautiful portrait of the Chancellor of France called the Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins, Baron de Trainel and Chancellor of France in c. 1465.

In this painting Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins is kneeling or standing in a red, royal looking robe lined with brown fur. He has a golden ring with many keys on it attached to his side. His arms are in a praying position over a book lying open on a table. This book is perhaps the Bible. The setting in which he is kneeling is most likely a church, since he is praying. It is decorated with very detailed walls with engraved statues of some sort of animals holding a red and white flag. Parts of the walls are black, this is maybe marble, or windows looking out to a dark night.

This impressive painting now rests in the Louvre (Paris, France)

One of the renaissance 'isms' that is apparent in this work of art is perspectivism because it has very detailed detailing on the walls and all of the details and objects have depth.

My favorite part of the painting is a simple, tiny detail that I find very eye catching. The small circles detailing the top of the wall above the flag does not appear intricate or complicated, but most likely was not easy to paint since it displays depth and shadows. This small detailing adds even more excitement to the wall.

I chose this piece because I was impressed with how detailed the entire painting was. The individual hairs on his robe are very clear and even more impressive is the detailing on the walls. Every part of the wall has some sort of intricate pattern or shape, and Guillaume Jouvenel has a very contemplative expression. Amazing art from self portraits to manuscript illumination was created by the incredibly talented, leading 15th-century artist in France, Jean Fouquet.


"Jean Fouquet." International Dictionary of Art and Artists. Gale, 1990. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"Jean Fouquet." Almanac of Famous People. Gale, 2011. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

"Jean Fouquet." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 3 Dec. 2015.

Fouquet, Jean. Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins, Baron de Trainel and Chancellor of France. c. 1465. painting. Louvre, Paris, France.

Fouquet, Jean. Ancient History to Caesar and the Deeds of the Romans; page depicting A Battle Between Romans and Carthaginians at Cannae in 216 BCE. 1470-1475. manuscript illumination, parchment. Louvre, Paris, France.

Fouquet, Jean. Self-portrait medallion. c. 1450. medallion, copper, enamel and gold. Louvre, Paris, France.