Jouvenet, John

, an historical painter, born at Bouen, in Normandy, in 1644, received his first instructions from his father; but his principal teacher was Poussin, and his most useful studies the works of that master. He had a ready invention, and was therefore employed to adorn the apartments of Versailles and the Trianon. In the hospital of the invalids at Paris, he painted the twelve apostles; each figure 14 feet high. It must be acknowledged, however, that he failed in true taste. His style partakes too much of French flippancy the substitution of something striking for what is solid and good and his colouring is heavy. In the latter end of his life, he was struck with a palsy on his right side, and after having tried to no purpose the virtue of mineral waters, despaired of being able to paint any longer; but in one of his lectures happening to take the pencil into his left hand, and trying to retouch a piece before him, the attempt succeeded so well, that it encouraged him to make others; till at length he determined to finish with his left hand a large cieling, which he had begun in the grand hall of the parliament at Kouen, and a large piece of the Annunciation, in the choir of the church of Paris. These last works are no ways inferior to any of his best. He died at Paris in 1717. 2


Argenville, vol. IV. Pilkington.