Family of artists da Vezzo
The happiness of family life and the happiness of self-realization in your favorite business are the eternal values that existed during the times of the Ottoman sultans and musketeer swords. True, what has become the norm in the modern world was once a rarity and a great success. Simon and Virginia Vouet worked side by side, helping each other in their work and at the same time enjoying family happiness – and this example is as beautiful as a short-lived one.
The fate and calling of Simon Vouhe lined up quite predictably. He was born in the family of the artist, and not simple, but close to the French royal court. His father, Laurent Vouet, gave Simon the necessary skills, and the further development of the boy’s art predetermined his talent and passion for development. Already in adolescence, he independently and at a very high level carried out portraits to order.
Wandering, which he embarked on in 1611, became the determining factor in Vue art. First, as part of the retinue of the French embassy, he went to Constantinople to the court of the Ottoman sultan. The East brought to the artist impressions of beautiful fabrics of various shades and textures – and since then masterful draperies in paintings, “aesthetics of fabrics”, will be the hallmarks of Vue’s works. In 1612, Simon settled in Venice, where he studied the works of the masters of that time – Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto.
Two years later, the artist was in Rome, where he lived for more than ten years. There, Vouet worked in a style that would later be called “dark” —in the influence of Caravaggio’s creative work on the Frenchman’s work, with the figures typical of the latter on a darkened uniform background. In Rome, Vouet taught painting, taking a high post at the Academy of St. Luke, and it was in this city that he met his future wife, Virginia.
Virginia da Vezzo was born in 1606 in the city of Velletri, near Rome. And she was destined to live the simple life of an Italian of the XVII century, if the father, Pompeo da Vezzo, did not recognize in the girl a talent for drawing, as well as a penchant for art, a willingness to learn, which Virginia had shown since childhood. And because the whole family moved to Rome, where in the early twenties, a young artist staged a student to an experienced master, who turned out to be Simon Vue.
Apparently, Virginia was an interesting and extraordinary girl, she was distinguished not only by diligence, but also by artistic taste, she knew how to think brightly and lively, and led friendships with outstanding personalities of her time. Among them, the most prominent was Artemisia Gentileschi, an artist who became the first female member of the oldest European Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. Gentileschi’s influence on the works of Virginia was also traced after the departure of Vezzo from Italy: works by the biblical story of Judith and Holofernes became outstanding works of both artists.
Virginia was given a rare honor for women of that time – membership in the Academy of St. Luke. In addition, the young artist was a model and assistant Vue, and after a while became his bride. In 1626, Simon and Virginia were married, and in 1627, on the orders of King Louis XIII, Vue returned to Paris. Virginia followed her husband.
In France, Vouet brought the style of Italian Baroque, which turned out to be very well received. Simon Vouet did very well – he painted the royal palaces, the residences of Cardinal Richelieu, and carried out orders to decorate the houses of noble Parisians. Virginia helped him in his work – as, incidentally, and vice versa – and often the paintings made, apparently, by his wife, after some involvement of her husband, were attributed to him. In addition, the style of work of the spouses was very similar. Art critics are convinced that the artist’s contribution to the work of her famous spouse, as well as the proportion of her own works in the Vue heritage, were very significant.
Scientists can only build versions of what works really belong to the brush of Virginia. Her work recognizes with certainty the painting “Judith with the Head of Holofernes” in which the artist depicted herself, as well as, in the opinion of some art historians, “Danae”. Virginia created miniature portraits that were popular at that time in Rome, painted on historical and mythological subjects.