Augustin de Saint-Aubin – Portrait of François Fenelon – 1783
Portrait of M François de Salignac de la Motte Fénelon, Archbishop Duke of Cambray, Prince of the Holy Empire, Count of Cambrésis. Etching after Joseph Vivien, by St. Aubin.
François de Salignac de la Motte Fénelon was born at Fénelon castle, in Périgord, on August 6, 1651. In 1689 he became Tutor to the Dauphin, the duke of Burgundy, grandson of Louis XIV. He was appointed archbishop of Cambrai in 1695.
Fénelon preached at the age of fifteen, was a religious writer and a mystical Christian philosopher. He left fifty-five works, of which at least two place him at the forefront of French literature: The Treatise on the Existence of God and Telemachus. Friend of Bossuet, he was later embroiled in a controversy with him which lasted three years and at the end of which he succumbed to the accusation of quietism brought against him by his terrible adversary; condemned by the court of Rome, Fénelon accepted this judgment with admirable humility (1699). He was exiled from the court and retired to his archbishopric; sick from the concussion felt in a car accident, he died six days later, on January 8, 1715. His eulogy was written by La Harpe and Alembert. The Scotsman Ramsay, Cardinal de Bausset and Abbé Gosselin each wrote a History of Fénelon.
Augustin de Saint-Aubin (Paris, January 3, 1736 - Paris, November 9, 1808) was a French painter and printmaker. Member of a family of artists, he was the son of Gabriel-Germain de Saint-Aubin, embroiderer, and brother of Gabriel-Jacques de Saint-Aubin, Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin and Louis-Michel de Saint-Aubin, all artists. He was first trained with his older brother Gabriel, then studied with Étienne Fessard (1755) and Laurent Cars (1764). He worked with Michelangelo Slodtz on "The Little Pleasures of the King". He devoted himself mainly to drawing and engraving, working as a chronicler of the society of his time: Concert, Bal de Gala (1773). He created a gallery of medallion portraits of famous people from Antiquity to his time. In 1777, he was appointed engraver of the Royal Library.
Sources: Académie française; Enciclopedia del Arte Garzanti, 1991.
Artist: Augustin de Saint-Aubin (1736-1808).
Medium: Copper etching.
Condition: Very good condition.
Dimensions: 30 x 20 cm. / 12 x 8 in. (sheet); 23 x 16 cm. / 9 x 6 1/4 in. (view).
Frame: 36 x 29 cm. / 14 ¼ x 11 ½ in. Black wood, classic style.