Jean Foucquet - Encyclopedia

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JEAN FOUCQUET, or Jehan (c. 1415-1485), French painter, born at Tours, is the most representative and national French painter of the 15th century. Of his life little is known, but it is certain that he was in Italy about 1437, where he executed the portrait of Pope Eugenius IV., and that upon his return to France, whilst retaining his purely French sentiment, he grafted the elements of the Tuscan style, which he had acquired during his sojourn in Italy, upon the style of the Van Eycks, which was the basis of early 15th-century French art, and thus became the founder of an important new school. He was court painter to Louis XI. Though his supreme excellence as an illuminator and miniaturist, of exquisite precision in the rendering of the finest detail, and his power of clear characterization in work on this minute scale, have long since procured him an eminent position in the art of his country, his importance as a painter was only realized when his portraits and altarpieces were for the first time brought together from various parts of Europe in 1904, at the exhibition of the French Primitives held at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. One of Foucquet's most important paintings is the diptych, formerly at Notre Dame de Melun, of which one wing, depicting Agnes Sorel as the Virgin, is now at the Antwerp Museum and the other in the Berlin Gallery. The Louvre has his oil portraits of Charles VII., of Count Wilczek, and of Jouvenal des Ursins, besides a portrait drawing in crayon; whilst an authentic portrait from his brush is in the Liechtenstein collection. Far more numerous are his illuminated books and miniatures that have come down to us. The Brentano-Laroche collection at Frankfort contains forty miniatures from a Book of Hours, painted in 1461 for Etienne Chevalier who is portrayed by Foucquet on the Berlin wing of the Melun altarpiece. From Foucquet's hand again .are eleven out of the fourteen miniatures illustrating a translation of Josephus at the Bibliotheque Nationale. The second volume of this MS., unfortunately with only one of the original thirteen miniatures, was discovered and bought in 1903 by Mr Henry Yates Thompson at a London sale, and restored by him to France.

See Ouvres de Jehan Foucquet (Curmer, Paris, 1866-1867); A. de Champeaux and P. Gauchery, Ouvres d'art executees pour le duc ode Berry; " Facsimiles of two histories by Jean Foucquet" from vols. i. and ii. of the Anciennetes des Juifs (London, 1902); Charles Blanc, Histoire des peintres de toutes les ecoles (introduction); and Georges Lafenestre, Jehan Fouquet (Paris, 1902).

Fougeres, a town of north-western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine, 30 m. N.E. of Rennes by rail. Pop. (1906) 21,847. Fougeres is built on the summit and slopes of a hill on the left bank of the Nangon, a tributary of the Couesnon. It was formerly one of the strongest places on the frontier towards Normandy, and it Mill preserves some portions of its medieval fortifications, notably a gateway of the 15th century known as the Porte St Sulpice. The castle, which is situated in the lower part of the town, directly overlooking the Nangon, is now a picturesque ruin, but gives abundant evidence in its towers and outworks of its former strength and magnificence. The finest of the towers was erected in 1242 by Hugues of Lusignan, and named after Melusine, the mythical foundress of the family. The churches of St Leonard and St Sulpice both date, at least in part, from the r 5th century. An hotel de ville and a belfry, both of the 1 5th century, are of architectural interest, and the town possesses many curious old houses. There is a statue of General B. de Lari Coisiere (d. 1812), born in the town. Fougeres is the seat of a subprefect, and has a tribunal of first instance, a chamber of commerce and a communal college. It is the chief industrial town of its department, being a centre for the manufacture of boots and shoes; tanning and leather-dressing and the manu facture of sail-cloth and other fabrics are also important industries. Trade is in dairy produce and in the granite of the neighbouring quarries. Fougeres frequently figures in Breton history from the firth to the 15th century. It was taken by the English in 1166, and again in 1448; and the name of Surienne, the captor on the second occasion, is still borne by one of the towers of the castle. In 1488 it was taken by the troops of Charles VIII. under la Tremoille. In the middle ages Fougeres was a lordship of some importance, which in the 13th century passed into the possession of the family of Lusignan, and in 1307 was confiscated by the crown and afterwards changed hands many times. In 1793, during the wars of the Vendee, it was occupied by the insurgents.

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