Sueur, Eustache Le

, one of the best painters hi his time which the French nation had produced, was born at Paris in 1617, and studied the principles of his art under Simon Vouet, whom he infinitely surpassed; and although he was never out of France, carried the art to a very high degree of perfection. His style was formed upon antiquity, and after the best Italian masters. He invented with ease, and his execution was always worthy of his designs. His attitudes are simple and noble, and his ex r pression well adapted to the subject. His draperies are designed after the manner of Raphael’s last works. Although he knew little of the local colours, or the chiaro scuro, he was so much master of the other parts of painting, that there was a great likelihood of his throwing off Vuuet’s manner entirely, had he lived longer. Immediately aiter Vouet’s death, he perceived that his master had led him out of the way: and by considering the antiques that were in France, and the designs and prints of the best Italian masters, particularly Raphael, he contracted a more refined style and happier manner. Le Brun could not forbear being jealous of Le Sueur, who did not mean, however, to give any man pain; for he had great simplicity of manners, and much candour, and probity. He died at Paris April 30, 1655, at no more than thirty-eight years of age. The life of St. Bruno, in twenty pictures, originally preserved in the Chartreux, and which employed him for three years, have, as Mr. Fuseli informs us, been “lately consigned to the profane clutch of restoration in the attic of the Luxembourg, and are now little more than the faint traces of what they were when issuing from the hand of their master. They have suffered martyrdom more than once.It is well that the nature of the subject permitted little more than fresco in the colouring at first, and that the great merit of their execution consisted in that | breadth of vehicle which monastic drapery demands, else we should have lost even the fragments that remain.‘ The old man in the fore-ground, the head of St. Bruno, and some of the disputants in the back-ground of the Predication; the bishop and the condemned defunct in the funeral; the apparition of St. Bruno himself in the camp; the female figure in the eleemosinary scene, and what has suffered least of all, the death of St. Bruno, contain the least disputable marks of the master’s primitive touch. The subject of the whole, abstractly considered, is the personification of sanctity, and it has been represented in the series with a purity which seems to place the artist’s heart on a level with that of his hero. The simplicity which tells that tale of resignation and innocence, despises all contrast of more varied composition, though not always with equal success, St. Bruno on his bed, visited by angels, building or viewing the plan for building his rocky retreat; the hunting-scene, and’ the apotheosis; might probably have admitted happier combinations. As, in the different re* touchings, the faces have suffered most, the expression must be estimated by those that escaped; and from what still remains, we may conclude that it was not inferior to the composition.1


Argnville, vol. IV.—Pilkington.