A most unexpected treasure trove of one of the greatest 17th-century artists you’ve never heard of, Bon Boullogne, who was one of the favoured artists to the court of Louis XIV, painter of the chapel at Versailles among many other official commissions. Although Boullogne enjoyed a grand reputation and schooled many successful artists in his time, this great chef d’école tended not to sign his paintings, which makes his work hard to authenticate.
Over the years, art historians have scrutinised numerous canvasses and embarked on a journey of discovery – using period documents, contracts and correspondence – to bring to light this exquisite body of work and restore Bon Boullogne to his rightful place as one of the leading talents of his age. Some of the pieces in this show had long been erroneously attributed to his contemporaries.
The Musée Magnin owned two of Boullogne’s paintings but, under the rules of their bequeathal, these couldn’t leave the premises so the only way to put this show together was for all the other works to be brought in to join them – suffice to say, you won’t see this grouping together anywhere else.
Tip: The museum is housed in a stunning hôtel particulier and also offers visitors a smorgasbord of over 1,300 paintings and 700 drawings and objets d’art.
Bon Boullogne, until March 5 at Musée Magnin, 4 rue des Bons Enfants, 2100 Dijon. Open daily 10am-12pm & 2pm-6pm. Closed Tuesdays. Entry is €5.50. Tel: +33 6 80 67 11 10
From France Today magazine