Portrait of Alexandre Milon de Mesme

Hyacinthe Rigaud

Perpignan, 1659 – Paris, 1743

1726
Oil on canvas
79 x 64 cm
P. 21
Diocese collection, 1910
© Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet

Hyacinthe Rigaud - Portrait d’Alexandre Milon de Mesme  © Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet

Information

On the advice of Lebrun (1619-1690), principal painter to the King, Rigaud decided not to move to Italy and established himself in Paris as a portraitist.  This genre, considered inferior to historical painting by the Academy, nevertheless led him to a brilliant career, in particular with his Portrait of Louis XIV in coronation robes. This more modest portrait of Alexandre Milon, bishop of Valence from 1726 to 1771, was commissioned at a cost of 600 livres, as shown in the artist’s account book.  A familiar bust representation, far from being a grand spectacle, he shows the prelate’s vision through the rich décor and clothing, but also the truth of a man known for his culture and great charity through a face that radiates good humour and leniency. 

Hyacinthe Rigaud - Portrait d’Alexandre Milon de Mesme © Musée de Valence, photo Éric Caillet