Jean Fouquet: Paintings, Biography & Education

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you're going to learn about a Frenchman by the name of Jean Fouquet. The lesson will cover some of his life as well as many of his famous paintings.

Jean Fouquet

This lesson is going to take a little tour of the life and works of a man by the name of Jean Fouquet. This name might not ring a bell for you. However, if you were a 15th century Frenchman (or woman) it certainly would. That's because Jean Fouquet was arguably one of the most, if not the most, important French painter of the 15th century.

Let's go over this man's life and some of his most famous paintings.


Little Fouquet was born around 1420 in Tours, France. Hence the little pun in the first sentence of this lesson. Did you catch it? Anyways, Fouquet must've not done too many extensive tours of his own because he also ended up dying in Tours around 1481. Either that, or he just really liked his hometown.

A self-portrait of Jean Fouquet he did in 1450 at the age of 30

Really bad jokes aside, he was quite the important man back in the day. Unfortunately, we don't really know much about his early life. Fouquet was likely the illegitimate son of a priest and he may have been educated and trained in the artistic ways in Paris by none other than the Bedford Master, a manuscript illuminator whose real identity is now lost to history.

Oh, you mean you have no idea what a manuscript illuminator is? How could you not know!? Well, they're not around much these days, at least as a profession. Unless, of course, you simply call them book illustrators or even graphic designers, a term that's basically the modern equivalent of that 15th century profession.


Anyways, we simply don't know much about Fouquet's life outside of his work.

We do know that around the age of 26, he went to Rome and painted none other than Pope Eugene IV himself. Not only that, but Fouquet soaked in the works, styles, and techniques of the Italian artistic masters whom he encountered or whose works he saw, which was all occurring at the beginning of the now-famous Renaissance Era. As a result, he created his own style of painting by mixing elements of French and Italian art.

Pope Eugene IV
Pope Eugene IV

The next year, roughly around 1447, he painted Charles VII, the King of France at the time. Charles looks so happy in Fouquet's painting, doesn't he?

Charles VII
 Charles VII

Charles was probably quite unhappy around 1450, when Fouquet painted Charles' mistress, Agnes Sorel, as a partially nude ode to the Virgin Mary. Sorel partnered with Charles' royal secretary, Etienne Chevalier, to help stabilize Charles' kingdom. Fouquet painted Chevalier as well, alongside Saint Stephen.

Agnes Sorel
Agnes Sorel

Etienne Chevalier
Etienne Chevalier

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