J. Montagu, 'Le Maître du Clébis et Biton de la collection Corsini, le jeune Thomas Blanchet?' in Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'Art Français, p. 91, 102, no. 16, fig. 8.
L. Galactéros-de Boissier, Thomas Blanchet, Paris, 1991, P150, p. 364, fig. 286.
Born in Lyon, Thomas Blanchet trained in Paris with Simon Vouet (c.1635-45) and then in Rome (1645-53), where he was absorbed into the dynamic circle of artists around Nicolas Poussin. In 1654 he created a mausoleum for René de Voyer d'Argenson, Ambassador of France in Venice, in S. Giobbe, Venice. By 1655 Blanchet was elected painter-in-chief for the city of Lyon, where he displayed great versatility in many civic projects involving his combined skills as a painter, draughtsman, architect, sculptor and print-maker.
The present architectural landscape very much reflects the influence of Poussin and Rome. Such archeological fantasies were much in demand by collectors attracted to the romance of Classical ruins, and a whole group of young artists around Poussin specialised in them, including Jean Lemaire, Dufresnoy, Nicholas Lois and Blanchet. As L. Galactéros-de Boissier notes (loc.cit.), the present picture is characteristic of Blanchet's work, with the frontally placed the Classical columns, the dramatic gesturing of the small figures and the lighting, which typically enters from a 45 o angle from the left, with a sky heavily dappled with clouds in three tones. Blanchet quotes Poussin, for example in the figure leaning to pick up his cloak to the left; and the frieze in the foreground is clearly inspired by Blanchet's study of the Temple of Antonius and Faustina, Rome. For other paintings by Blanchet, see Alexander at the Tomb of Achilles and The Finding of Moses, both in the Louvre, Paris.
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