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Jacques Stella

Virgin and Child with Saint John


Jacques Stella
Lyons 1596 – Paris 1657


Virgin and Child with Saint John


About 1635-1640


Oil on slate


30.3 x 23.1 cm


Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.449


Western Art

Stella received his initial training in Lyons before travelling to Florence in 1616 to enter the court of Cosimo II de Medici. In 1623, the artist moved to Rome, where he stayed until about 1634 before returning to France. Here, he became a close friend of the artist Poussin, whose severe classical style and broader experience of Rome profoundly influenced Stella. The refined taste of the time for the evocative and elegant decorative effect of painting on marble, jasper, lapis lazuli or slate was reflected in commissions of this expensive technique from the Medici court of Florence and from the Borghese and Barberini papal families in Rome. Stella executed such works in Italy and continued to do so occasionally after his return to France, as exemplified in our work. In this intimate scene, the classical, sculptural presentation of the Virgin, the Christ Child and Saint John is balanced by the delicate, decorative effect of the basket, grapes and flowers.

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