Henri Testelin (1616–1695) was a French painter and writer on art.
|Died||17 April 1695|
|Known for||Portraits of French royalty|
In 1648, Henri Testelin became one of the founder members of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. He succeeded his brother Louis as its secretary from 1650 and was nominated professor in 1656. In 1653, he suggested that academicians should regularly give lectures (Conférences) on art theory, a practise which was adopted and became a corner stone of the institution's activities.
Testelin's own lectures consisted of his reading of tables in which he summarised all the aspects of art theory his colleagues had previously presented. He published these tables in 1680 as Sentimens des plus habiles peintres sur la pratique de la peinture et sculpture, mis en tables de préceptes, avec plusieurs discours académiques, ou conférences tenues en l'Académie royale des dits arts. Reworked and expanded editions were published in The Hague in 1693 or 1694 and in Paris in 1696.
In 1853, French art historian Anatole de Montaiglon published the 17th century manuscript Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de l'Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture depuis 1648 jusqu'en 1664, a detailed account of the early history of the Académie royale, and identified the anonymous author as Henri Testelin.
In line with the increasingly intolerant religious policies of Louis XIV, Testelin was dismissed from the Academy in 1681 because he was a protestant. He left France and went into exile in Holland. He died in The Hague on 17 April 1695.
Testelin was given living quarters at the Gobelins Manufactory for which he produced several cartoons for tapestry. These are mostly scenes from the life of Alexander the Great and Louis XIV based on compositions by Le Brun and the battle painter Adam Frans van der Meulen.
Most of his paintings are kept in the palace of Versailles.
Works by TestelinEdit
Pierre Seguier (1666-1668)
- Eugène Haag and Emile Haag, La France protestante, IX, Paris 1859, p. 357-361: Testelin, Tettelin ou Tetelin, famille d'artistes.
- Jacqueline Lichtenstein and Christian Michel (Ed.), Conférences de Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, I: Les Conférences au temps d'Henry Testelin 1648-1681, Paris 2006, Volume 1, p. 76.
- Jacqueline Lichtenstein and Christian Michel (Ed.), Conférences de Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, I: Les Conférences au temps d'Henry Testelin 1648-1681, Paris 2006, Volume 1, p. 50; the text of this edition of the Sentimens is in Volume 2, pp. 689-749. A scanned copy is available online at archive.org
- Also available online at archive.org.
- Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de l'Académie royale de Peinture et de Sculpture depuis 1648 jusqu'en 1664, Paris 1853, Volume I, p. IV.
- See for example the Dragonnades and the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes soon after.
- Overview of art in French museums, Joconde. About Henri Testelin
- Gerhard Bissell, Testelin, Henri, in: Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (Artists of the World), Vol. 108, Saur, Munich 2020 (in German).