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Home>Exhibitions & Events>Exhibitions>Joseph Parrocel (1646–1704)

The Louvre Drawings

In this exhibition, scheduled to coincide with the publication of the first monograph on the work of Joseph Parrocel, the Louvre presents the rare group of the artist’s drawings from its collections.

Although Parrocel is mostly known as a battle painter, the Department of Graphic Arts owns an astonishing set of religious compositions, preparatory studies for engravings by the artist.
In these works, Parrocel achieves a freedom of line without equal among his contemporaries.
Born in the south of France, Joseph Parrocel lived in Rome and then in Venice before settling in Paris in 1675. He was selected by Louvois to participate in the decoration of the walls of the Hôtel des Invalides. In 1685, he was entrusted with the decoration of the first two salons of the king’s inner apartments at Versailles. He was commissioned in 1693 to paint the May of Notre-Dame de Paris, a painting annually presented on May 1st by the goldsmiths’ guild as a gift to the Virgin Mary. During his last years, Parrocel worked for the king and painted for the Château de Marly Le Passage du Rhin (1699, now musée du Louvre).

Marked by his exposure to Italian models, Parrocel developed a heroic vision of battle painting. His spirited manner of painting seems guided by a deep pleasure in the expressive power of colour; the painted surface retains each spontaneous gesture of the brush. A similar technical inventiveness is found in his drawings, particularly in the series The Life of Christ, in which the seemingly confused lines and mixed techniques convey with fervour the effervescence of creation.

Publication: Joseph Parrocel (1646–1704). La Nostalgie de l’héroïsme, by Jérôme Delaplanche. Arthena, 376 pages, €121.

Organized by: Exhibition curators: Jérôme Delaplanche, Université de Paris IV-Sorbonne, Christophe Leribault and Jean-François Méjanès, chief curators, Department of Graphic Arts, Musée du Louvre.

Practical information

Sully Wing

2nd floor, rooms 21 to 23

Admission with a ticket to the permanent collections.