Guillaume Courtois

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Guillaume Courtois, The 1634 Battle of Nördlingen, 1676

Guillaume Courtois or Guiglielmo Cortese (1628 – June 15, 1679), called Il Borgognone, was a French-Italian painter and etcher, active mainly in Rome as a battle-painter and painter of sacred subjects. He was the brother of the Jesuit painter Jacques Courtois (Giacomo Cortese).


Like his brother, he was born in Saint-Hippolyte, Doubs in France to a painter. Together, father and sons went to Italy when Guillaume was still a child.

He arrived in Rome by 1638, and entered the studio of Pietro da Cortona, supplementing his training by drawing from life and copying works of Giovanni Lanfranco and Andrea Sacchi. He studied also the Bolognese painters and Guercino, and formed for himself a classicizing style with very little express mannerism, partly resembling that of Carlo Maratta.[1]

He painted the Battle of Joshua in the Gallery of the Quirinal Palace, the Crucifixion of St Andrew in Sant'Andrea al Quirinale, various works for the Jesuits, some also in co-operation with his brother. His last production was Christ admonishing Martha.

Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911 found that "His draughtsmanship is better than that of Jacques, whom he did not, however, rival in spirit, colour or composition." Guillaume Courtois died of gout on June 15, 1679.