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Portrait of Dom Louis Baudouin du Basset, a Carthusian monk of Gaillon

Jean Restout

(1692 - 1768) | 851.7

Date : 1716 | Medium : Oil on canvas

Nothing could be simpler than the composition of this portrait: head and shoulders, facing the viewer, standing out from a background treated in monochrome. In this youthful masterpiece painted in 1716, Restout, the nephew and pupil of Jean Jouvenet, deploys both his virtuosity as a colourist and his considerable elegance as a draughtsman.

The beige tones, broken up into small surfaces by the folds, make play with the light, while the composition is enlivened with a patch of pure red: the morocco-bound cover of the book at the bottom, in the middle.

This portrait is also a masterpiece of psychological refinement tinged with humour. We can sense a kind of youthful complicity between the painter and his model, to whom he gives a naive expression and a cheerfulness that perhaps only existed in his own eyes.

At Gaillon, close to the magnificent country residence of the archbishops of Rouen, there was  a Carthusian monastery until the Revolution, now destroyed.