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Houasse, Michel-Ange

Paris, 1680 - Arpajon, 1730

The son of the painter René-Antoine Houasse, a disciple of Le Brun, he learned from his father and at the Paris Academy, where he received a full training. He must have spent time in Italy between 1699 and 1704 and subsequently returned to Paris, becoming a member of the Academy in 1707. In 1715 he arrived in Madrid and worked in the service of Philip V until his death. Although hired as a portraitist, he was soon displaced by other artists, especially Jean Ranc, in this respect. He executed numerous works, chiefly portraits and religious paintings -among them an altarpiece dedicated to Saint Francis Regis- but is known for his host of small paintings of scenes of common folk, some real and others invented, with a taste for the everyday, combining elements borrowed from French academic painting, the "fetes galantes" and Dutch tradition, using direct memories and earlier engravings. He also executed several allegorical/mythological works and magnificent landscapes that were ahead of those of his contemporaries in spirit and technique, heralding Corot. He taught the art of painting to several disciples in Madrid and had just completed two large tapestry cartoons for the Santa Barbara Royal Manufactory in Madrid when he died. A refined artist, though never straying far from the sensible world, he displays a deep knowledge of painting and an astonishing inventiveness in all genres. The likeness of "Louis I" (Museo del Prado, Madrid) dated 1717 is one of his first paintings in Spain and his most interesting portrait known so far. It displays a splendid contrast between the cold tones of the sitter's robes and warm colours of the décor. His static pose combines 17th-century Spanish sobriety and French decorative trends of the end of Louis XIV's reign, but lacks the Baroque impetus and grandiloquent lavishness of the works of Rigaud and Largillierre. An example of what the painter was capable of in creating a new vision of the surrounding world is the large series of panoramas of the Royal Palaces and Sites where court life took place. The sensation of landscapes painted directly, intuited in their full dimension and appreciated with deep sensibility, attests to the artist's mastery at capturing nature through agile, sketchy brushstrokes applied in brief touches which foreshadow the Impressionist technique in their depiction of atmosphere, vibrant light and colours, in accordance with the boldness of their interpretative language (Luna, J. J.: From Titian to Goya. Great Masters of the Museo del Prado, National Art Museum of China-Shanghai Museum, 2007, p. 388).

Artworks (20)

Banquete de Telémaco y Mentor
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Houasse, Michel-Ange
San Francisco de Regis dando la comunión a un tullido
Oil on canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
Multiplicación del trigo en la ciudad de Puy por san Francisco de Regis
Oil on unlined canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
Milagro de san Francisco de Regis
Oil on canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
San Francisco de Regis predicando
Oil on unlined canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
Aparición de san Francisco de Regis a la madre Momplaisant
Oil on canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
San Francisco de Regis repartiendo limosnas
Oil on unlined canvas, Before 1722
Houasse, Michel-Ange
Luis I, con armadura, a los 10 años
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1717
Houasse, Michel-Ange (Workshop of)
Louis I, Prince of Asturias
Oil on canvas, 1717
Houasse, Michel-Ange

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