Charles Errard

Aeneas carrying Anchises, by Charles Errard

Charles Errard the Younger ([ɛʁaʁ]; 1606–1689) was a French painter, architect and engraver, co-founder and director of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. Louis XIV's minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert delegated to him the foundation of the French Academy in Rome in 1666, and he was its founding director from then until 1684 (apart from between 1673 and 1675, when he was replaced by Noël Coypel).


Charles Errard was trained as a painter by his father, Charles Errard the Elder, a court painter to Louis XIII. The son's long career as an artist in France was interrupted by several stays in Rome, going there to study with his father in 1625, equipped with a royal scholarship, and again in 1627. He drew ancient works of art as well as figures, busts, reliefs, ornament and Trajan's Column, as well as contemporary buildings. Soon he became a brilliant draughtsman.

After his return to Paris, he worked for different French art lovers and collectors including, among others, the brothers Paul Fréart de Chantelou and Roland Fréart de Chambray. During a further stay in Rome, he became acquainted with Poussin and his patron Cassiano dal Pozzo, for whom he painted two pictures. In 1651, according to Stiche, he produced illustrations after Poussin's sketches to Leonardo da Vinci's Trattato della Pittura. After his appointment as decorator of the royal palace, he received orders for the decoration of the Louvre Palace, the Palace of Fontainebleau (queen mother's suite), Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Versailles. He was also active as a scenery painter for the royal opera.

As an engraver, he illustrated, among other things, the Vite by Giovanni Pietro Bellori and an anatomical Atlas for the scholars of the French Academy in Rome, one of the first anatomical books for artists generally. Errard was the co-founder of the "Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture", which appointed him its director in 1657. In 1664–65 he carried out an art-collecting trip to Flanders on the king's behalf.[1]

Rivalries with Charles Le Brun led him to take another trip to Rome, this time taking 12 scholars with him twelve scholars in order to establish the "Académie de France à Rome" there on behalf of his promoter, the French minister Colbert. He was selected from 1673 and 1675 to be the Principal of the Accademia di San Luca. After the death of Colbert in 1683, Errard resigned his offices.

On his death in Rome aged 82,[2] he was buried in Santa Trinità dei Monti. He left Louis XIV bronze copies of Florentine sculptures, particularly (but not only[3]) from Michelangelo's sculptures in the Medici Chapel[4] – these are now in the Louvre.


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