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Work Pierre Quthe, Apothecary

Department of Paintings: French painting

Pierre Quthe, Apothecary

© 1993 RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi

Paintings
French painting

Author(s):
Pomarède Vincent

The handwritten inscription below the curtain gives the name of the painter, the sitter's name and age, and the date of the painting. Pierre Quthe was a Parisian apothecary and the owner of a famous garden of medicinal plants, to which the herbal open in front of him is an allusion.

Pierre Quthe, apothecary

Here François Clouet has painted his friend and neighbor Pierre Quthe (1519-c. 1588), famed for his work in botany and the astonishing "garden of simples" he patiently tended in the heart of Paris. The inscription is rich in information, providing the date of the picture - 1562 - and telling us that Pierre Quthe was 43 at the time. This is one of the rare signed works by François Clouet.

Technical precision and realism

On the left, a magnificent blue-green curtain creates a trompe-l'oeil effect that accentuates the depth of the picture and the realism for which Clouet was striving. This work offers a subtle blend of smooth precision, the psychological realism of the Flemish portrait, and an approach to light and facial contour reflecting the recent influence of the Italian Renaissance painters.

Moreau-Nélaton steps in

This work was acquired by the Friends of the Louvre, which donated it to the museum in 1908. The acquisition had been made possible by the collector and donor Étienne Moreau-Nélaton: having spotted it in a collection abroad, he paid for it out of his own pocket, being later reimbursed by the Friends of the Louvre, of which he was an active member.

Technical description

  • François CLOUET (Tours, c. 1505-10 - Paris, 1572)

    Pierre Quthe, Apothecary

    1562

  • H. 0.91 m; W. 0.70 m

  • Gift of the Société des Amis du Louvre, 1908

    R.F. 1719

  • Paintings

    Richelieu wing
    2nd floor
    Jean and François Clouet, the first School of Fontainebleau
    Room 7

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Additional information about the work

FR. IANETTI. OPUS/ PE. QUTTIO. AMICO. SINGULARI / AETATIS SUE XLIII / 1562 (Work of Fr. Janet, to P. Quthe, his close friend, aged 43, 1562)