Jean-Jacques de Boissieu (Lyon 1736 - Lyon 1810)
Black chalk on paper
550 x 430 mm
Private Collection, France
This black chalk drawing was made after the design of Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664). Zurbarán’s original painting of c.1650-1660, was initially intended for a monastery in Madrid, however it was instead gifted by Queen Maria Theresa of Spain to a Franciscan monastery in Lyon in the 1660s.
The painting was then sold a century later to the so-called ‘French Rembrandt’, Jean-Jacques de Boissieu, following the instigation of the French Revolution in 1789. Reportedly de Boissieu purchased the painting illegally, before repurposing the central figure three times: in the present drawing; a 1791 etching, Les Pères du Désert; and a full length black chalk drawing, sold at Christie’s in 1997.
De Boissieu then sold the painting to the Musée de Lyon in 1807, where the painting remains today.