Louise Moillon was a Baroque painter, famous for being one of the most important still life painter of her time. She was born in Paris, France (1609 or 1610). Her work was purchased by the French nobility and King Charles I of England. Almost all her works were painted in 1630’s, before her marriage to Parisian timber merchant Etienne Girardot de Chancourt. Her last dated work is from 1864. Today we know approximately forty of her paintings, most of them are signed Louyse Moillon.
The two most representative characteristics of her work are: stillness and the accuracy to details, such as the texture of the fruits displayed in glow colours against a dark background.
Market scene with a pickpocket
In this painting we can see other important detail of Moillon’s work. Even though she was specialized in still life only, her fruits/flowers on a table were sometimes accompanied by a human figure. What was very unusual on this type of paintings and even more in that time, she was probably the first painter to do it.
By including human figures in a still life painting, she was changing the subject of the work, in instead of painting an arrangement of domestic objects, or flowers and fruits, she was showing a scene of everyday life, or what we know today as a genre scene.
This is something that amazes me about her work, because she’s telling with this that she wanted to paint other things and that maybe she didn’t because she was not allowed to do it.
- Book: Harris, A. S. Nochlin, L. (1976). Women Artists: 1550-1950. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
- Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza
- Wikipedia (French – English)
- Wikimedia Commons