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Presentation of Jesus at the Temple

Jean Jouvenet

(1644 - 1717) | SR.26

Date : 1692 | Medium : Oil on canvas

This painting was confiscated during the Revolution from the church of La Londe, a small town in the canton of Elbeuf-sur-Seine near Rouen. It is not so surprising that a masterpiece by Jean Jouvenet should turn up in such a place.

After the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685, Jean Jouvenet began to specialise in religious subjects and found himself in great demand. He produced large quantities of such works, particularly for the many churches in his home region of Rouen.

This painting was also extremely famous at the end of the 17th century, as is shown by the number of versions and copies that were produced and the other works that it inspired (such as the very similar painting on the same subject by Louis II de Boulogne, painted in 1715 for Notre-Dame de Paris and housed in The Louvre).

According to Antoine Schnapper, the ‘prototype’ for this Presentation at the Temple was not the Rouen painting but another painting of which all that remains is an engraving by Alexis Loir. In any case, the Rouen version is a good illustration of a ‘formula’ that had great success in religious art: the pyramid composition highlighted by two large altar candles, the green-toned architecture and the figure of the high priest in the centre are typical elements of this. Another example is his Marriage of the Virgin (Museum of Alençon) which dates from the same period.