Paul Fréart de Chantelou

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Paul Fréart de Chantelou (1609–1694) was a French collector. He patronised and encouraged major artists of his era, in particular Nicolas Poussin (1594–1665) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598–1680).

Chantelou and Poussin[edit]

Poussin's return to Paris in 1640 would doubtless have resulted in the end of his artistic career had he not attached himself to a prestigious clientele of Parisian amateurs, among whom Chantelou was of the most influential. The two men had a long correspondence which even today provides a rich source of details on the artist's life and his artistic conception.

Among Chantelou's commissions from Poussin after his time in Paris is his Seven Sacraments (1644–1648), once in the collection of the duke of Sutherland and now in the store of the National Gallery of Scotland, and the famous Self-portrait (1650), now in the musée du Louvre.

Chantelou and Bernini[edit]

Bust of Louis XIV, by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1665). The Journal describes in detail the gestation of this marble bust of the King. This is one of the few portraits for which Louis XIV agreed to pose: he allowed thirteen sittings.

In 1665, Louis XIV, through his intermediary and minister Colbert, summoned Bernini to Paris to take part in the rebuilding of the Louvre The king designated Chantelou to welcome him and accompany him during his stay in Paris. Chantelou kept a precise day-to-day Journal of this meeting—from Bernini's arrival in Paris at the start of June, to his departure five months later—which survives to this day. Intended for his brother (who lived in the provinces at the time and unable to meet the sculptor in person), this Journal has become a source of importance, for history and for art history. It not only tells of the artist's personality and the conception of his art (detailing, for example, the creation of the king's portrait), but also of everyday court life: confrontation between the king of France and the most renowned Italian artist of his time reveals the king's political clout.


  • (French) C. Jouanny, Correspondance de Nicolas Poussin, Archives de l'art français, Paris, 1911.
  • (French) Paul Fréart de Chantelou, Journal du cavalier Bernin en France, ed. L. Lalanne, Paris, 1885 ; re-ed. Pandora, Aix-en-Provence, 1981. The text is available on Gallica.