Auguste Jean Baptiste Vinchon
(Paris, France 1789 - 1855 )
A Tomb in the nave of a Basilican church
oil on paper laid down on canvas
10 x 15 1/4in. (25.4 x 38.7cm.)
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Auguste Jean-Baptiste Vinchon was a pupil of Gioacchino Giuseppe Serangeli and Jacques-Louis David. He won second place in the Prix de Rome in 1813 and the Grand Prix in the following year. During his stay in Rome (1814-16) he resided at the French Academy in the Villa Medici and spent his days copying from the Old Masters and making oil sketches of the city and the surrounding countryside. He also studied fresco painting, and on his return to Paris in 1820 he worked alongside Abel de Pujol and Alexandre Guillemot on the decorative scheme of three chapels at Saint-Sulpice.
During Vinchon’s stay in Rome, the fashion for plein-air sketching in oil was at its height and was practised even by artists who, like Vinchon, were not specialists in the genre. Sketching from nature was a means of training the artist in close observation, in order to lend vibrancy to his more formal and conceptual studio works. Sketches also served as a library of motifs available for consultation. Many were likely painted entirely on the spot, but others might have been started or finished in the studio, particularly those destined for sale. Often executed on paper, which was easier to transport, these sketches were often laid down on canvas to provide a more stable support.