Valentin de Boulogne

Artist (France)
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Little is known of Valentin de Boulogne's short but influential career except that he had moved to Rome by 1614. He may have studied with Simon Vouet, and he was profoundly influenced by the realism of the art of Caravaggio and his followers. He was Nicolas Poussin's friend; the two young Frenchmen may have met for the first time in Rome, the artistic mecca and crossroads of all classes and nationalities. De Boulogne only documented work hung in Saint Peter's Basilica next to Poussin's only public picture in Rome. Both men painted religious and secular compositions for private patrons, but their art could not have been more different. Poussin's approach was intellectual: he insisted on harmony in his compositions, and he painted the ideal and the abstract. De Boulogne's approach, on the other hand, was personal and dramatic. He infused his pictures with melancholy, even sadness. His genre scenes captured the seedy, coarse aspects of life, much of which he probably experienced in the rough melting pot that was Rome. Diplomat Cardinal Mazarin and Louis XIV were early collectors of his works.