Pierre Subleyras

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Pierre Subleyras
Self-portrait by Pierre Subleyras.jpg
Self-portrait by Pierre Subleyras in 1746.
Born(1699-11-25)25 November 1699
Saint-Gilles, Gard
Died28 May 1749(1749-05-28) (aged 49)
AwardsPrix de Rome

Pierre Subleyras (November 25, 1699 – May 28, 1749) was a French painter, active during the late-Baroque and early-Neoclassic period, mainly in Italy.


Subleyras was born in Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, France. He left France in 1728, having carried off the French Academy's grand prix, which provided scholarship for study in Rome. In Rome, he painted for the Elector of Saxony, Frederick Christian, a "Christ's Visit to the House of Simon the Pharisee",[1] (later engraved by Subleyras himself), this work procured his admission into the famed Roman artists guild, Accademia di San Luca.[2]

Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga next obtained for him the order for Saint Basil & Emperor Valens (also known as the Mass of St. Basil,[3] which was executed in mosaic for St Peter's.[4] Another masterpiece is his painting of St Camillo De Lellis coming to the rescue of the diseased at the hospital of the Holy Spirit.[5]

He was a remarkably incisive portraitist, as evident from the portrait of Pope Benedict XIV[6] or of the obese Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga.[7] The pope himself commanded two great paintings, the "Marriage of St Catherine" and the "Ecstasy of St Camilla", which he placed in his own private apartments. Another portrait was of the cleric and artist Giovanni Felice Ramelli, which Ramelli then replicated in miniature. [8]

Subleyras shows greater individuality in his curious genre pictures, which he produced in considerable number (Louvre).[2] In his illustrations of La Fontaine and Boccaccio his true relation to the modern era comes out; and his drawings from nature are often admirable (see one of a man draped in a heavy cloak in the British Museum).

Exhausted by overwork, Subleyras tried a change to Naples, but returned to Rome at the end of a few months to die. His wife, the celebrated miniature painter, Maria Felice Tibaldi, was sister to Isabella, the wife of Trémolières.

Partial Catalogue and gallery[edit]

Paintings at the Louvre[edit]

  • Don Cesare Benvenuti
  • L'Absolution de Théodose
  • Le Gaucon
  • L'Ermite ou Frère Luce
  • Les Oies du frère Philippe
  • Portrait présumé de Jacques-Antoine de Lironcourt
  • Saint Benoît ressuscite un enfant
  • Saint Jean d'Avila


  1. ^ Christ in the house of Simon at the Louvre
  2. ^ a b Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ Small study in Louvre, original now in Santa Maria degli Angeli
  4. ^ Mass of St. Basil
  5. ^ St. Camillo De Lellis coming to the rescue of the diseased at the hospital of the Holy Spirit Archived 2006-05-16 at the Wayback Machine in Palazzo Braschi, Rome.
  6. ^ Pope Benedict XIV portrait.
  7. ^ Cardinal Valenti Gonzaga Archived 2007-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Acquisitions of the month: December 2018". Apollo Magazine.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Subleyras, Pierre". Encyclopædia Britannica. 25 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links[edit]

Media related to Pierre Subleyras at Wikimedia Commons