Cousin, John

, an eminent French artist, and the earliest historical painter France produced, was born at Souci near Sens, in 1530, and studied the fine arts so strenuously in his youth, that he became profoundly learned, especially in the mathematics. Painting on glass being very much in vogue in those days, he applied himself more to that than to the drawing of pictures. Several fine performances of his are to be seen in the churches of the neighbourhood of Sens, and some in Paris; particularly in St. Gervase’s church, where, on the windows of the choir, he painted the martyrdom of St. Laurence, the history of the Samaritan woman, and that of the paralytic. There are several of his pictures in the city of Sens; as also some portraits. But the chief of his works, and that which is most esteemed, is his picture of the Last Judgment, in the sacristy of the Minims at Bois de Vincennes, which was graved by Peter de Tode, a Fleming, a good designer. This picture shews the fruitfulness of Cousin’s genius, by the numbers of the figures that enter into the composition; yet is somewhat wanting in elegance of design.

Cousin married the daughter of the lieutenant-general of Sens, and carried her to Paris, where he lived the rest of his days. His learning acquired him the name of the | Great. He was well received at court, and in favour with four kings successively; namely, Henry II. Francis II. Charles IX. and Henry III. He worked also in sculpture, and made admiral Chabot’s tomb, which is in the chapel of Orleans, belonging to the Celestines in Paris. The last French account of him fixes his death in 1589. Of his literary works, we have seen only the following: 1. “Livre de Perspective,” Par. 1560, folio. 2. “Livre de Pourtraiture,” ib. 1618, 4to, and 1671, both which are in the British Museum. 1


Argenville, vol. IV. —Dict. Hist.