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Frère Luc (Claude François)

The Virgin Embracing Christ and the Reed


Frère Luc (Claude François)
Amiens 1614 – Paris 1685


The Virgin Embracing Christ and the Reed


Before 1670


Oil on copper


19.6 cm (approx. diam.)


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 2007.360


Quebec and Canadian Art

Trained in Paris, likely in the studio of Simon Vouet, then in Rome, Claude François joined the Recollet order in Paris. He took his vows in 1645, adopting the name Frère Luc in honour of the patron saint of painters. He painted the Franciscan devotions for convents of his order in several French towns. In New France, where he stayed in 1670-1671, his production of large paintings adhering to iconographic programs coordinated with architecture was an innovation. Dating from before his time in Quebec, The Virgin Embracing Christ and the Reed is obviously meant for private devotion, as indicated by its size and material. The edifying iconography, which combines an Ecce homo and a Mater dolorosa, and the copper support recall works mentioned in the earliest inventories of the fledgling colony’s chapels.

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