Oil on Panel 19” x 15”
Francois Brunery was one of a handful of fine de siecle academic artists specialising in ecclesiastical, (also termed anti-clerical or Cardinal) painting. This genre was at the height of its’ popular appeal, with the light-hearted mockery of the luxurious and lavish life style generally considered to be led by the Catholic Church.
A leader in his field, Francois Brunery depicted members of the clergy – lavishly dressed and in opulent settings – engaging in a variety of Cardinal Sins: sloth, greed, pride, gluttony. The Gourmand is not only a fine example of the genre but also of Brunery’s exquisite painting skills.
This cardinal is portrayed tucking into a splendid lunch – a dressed lobster, at plate of oysters, a crusty bread roll, a fine bottle of champagne and a second smaller glass propably awating a good liqueur! He is seated in an elegant room, with carved wall panels, a fine tapestry, at a table covered with an exquisite gold lace-trimmed table cloth, infront of a sunlit window. Here Brunery gently exposes his cardinal as being as susceptible to the everyday temptations as the common man – in this case greed, pride and gluttony.
Francois Brunery uses his considerable talent to paint the rich red robes, made from fine water-marked silk, the intricate gold lace of the table cloth and napkin perched on his lap – the cardinal is delicately eating an oyster, leaning over the table, so as not to let the juice spill onto his robes – he is totally immersed in enjoying his meal, not a care in the world.
Although born in Turin, Francois Brunery lived and worked in Paris, studying under Germone and Bonnat and thriving in the Parisian art scene. Paris suited him – his works fetched large sums of money – and he enjoyed a succesful career, including receiving and ‘Honorable Mention’ at the Paris Salon in 1903. Today his paintings are collected both at home and abroad.