François Verdier (Paris 1651/52 – 1730 Paris)
Christ among the Doctors
Black and white chalk on blue-prepared paper, black ink framing lines, 153 x 251 mm (6 x 9.9 inch) laid down onto an 18th-century collector’s mount, re-using a sheet of printed and manuscript text on the verso
Private collection, Paris
François Verdier was educated at the Académie Royale in Paris, where he is mentioned from 1668 onwards, and won a prize for drawing in the same year. He became an official member of the Académie in 1678, and was awarded a grant to study in Rome the following year, on the recommendation of Charles Le Brun. Verdier was elected Professeur in 1684, made designs for tapestries, and executed a series of fourteen paintings for the Grand Trianon in 1688, much influenced by the example of the great Le Brun.
In spite of these auspicious beginnings to his career, Verdier seems to have fallen from grace in 1699, and no longer received official commissions. Around the turn of the century the lighter style of the Rococo became highly fashionable, yet Verdier remained faithful to the heavier classical academism he had been taught, and which became increasingly unpopular. According to the artists’ biographer Dezallier d’Argenville, Verdier ended his life in great poverty, and tried to sell his drawings which he kept in his mantle in the streets, in order to make a little money.
Verdier was an active draughtsman, and his drawings are characterized by strong robust figures, exectued in a free technique. Many drawings by Verdier are preserved in the Louvre, and a small group of drawings by the artist is preserved in the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt.1
1. D. Cordellier, P. Rosenberg and P. Märker, Dessins français du Musée de Darmstadt, XVIe, XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles, Darmstadt 2007, nos. 148-158.