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Jean Baptiste Monnoyer

Jean Baptiste Monnoyer

Jean Baptiste Monnoyer (1636–1699) worked in a variety of media: he painted still lifes, created decoration for household interiors, and was affiliated with various tapestry workshops. The pieces included in this exhibit come from several series of floral engravings published in the late seventeenth century.

Monnoyer trained in Antwerp and become adept at the techniques and compositions that characterized the grand floral still lifes of the Low Countries, a style that contrasts with the scientific focus of contemporaries such as Nicolas Robert, who were primarily botanical illustrators. His paintings were often populated with huge urns or baskets overflowing with ornate flowers, and proved to be popular with aristocratic clients for interior decorations in both France and England. Monnoyer’s flower paintings document the stylistic evolution of French still life composition into an elegant large-scale artistic style.

Monnoyer published prints of his floral compositions, in the form of pattern books for artisans and the industrial arts as well as for purely decorative purposes, which helped to disperse and popularize his art. This style came to dominate the field of French decorative arts, such as tapestries, carpets and embroidery, and was still evident at the end of the eighteenth century.

Monnoyer collaborated with artists such as René-Antoine Houasse and Hyacinthe Rigaud on decorative work for many royal houses. He worked on the decoration of the Queen’s apartment at the Château of Vincennes (Seine), painting garlands of flowers on the ceilings, and was employed by Charles Le Brun on the ornamentation of Versailles.


Exhibit Items