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ST. BRUNO ON HIS KNEES BEFORE
In the year 1648, Le Sueur, at the age of 31, began, by the desire of the Queen, the mother of Louis the Fourteenth, to paint the history of St. Bruno, founder of the Order of the Chartreux, for the purpose of decorating the cloister of the Monastery at Paris. This he executed in 22 pictures, in the space of three years; and although he has the modesty to call his pictures mere sketches, the series has been reckoned among the best collections of paintings. It passed in the year 1776 into the cabinet of the late King of France.
After the death of Le Sueur, some persons, jealous of the fame of this great painter, having had the meanness to damage these chef d'ceuvres, much care was bestowed to restore them to their former state. They were originally painted upon wood, then placed upon canvas, and afterwards retouched; but this latter task was committed to unskilful hands. They have since, by au order of the Senate, been restored with the utmost precision.
The Chartreux compelled Le Sueur to begin the life of St. Bruno, with an anecdote, to which, for a long time the conversion of the Saint was attributed; but this story Pope Urban VIII. caused to be suppressed as fabulous
"A Parisian Monk, named Raymond, united to the "talent of prediction, au exterior of the sincere piety. "He died; and upon being carried to the sepulchre, "rose suddenly from hia coffin, to declare that he was "damned."
Such is the subject of the present picture. The Saint, gfeatly terrified at the miraculous apparition of Raymond, and the words he had pronounced, returned to his dwelling. He threw himself at the feet of the crucifix, and absorbed in profound reflections, resolved from that moment, to withdraw himself from the world. In a corner of the picture, the body of Raymond is seen, thrown into the earth, without any religious ceremony.
The extreme simplicity of the composition forms its principal merit; and is perfectly consonant with the subject. The general effect of the picture has much sweetness, and the handling is light and correct.