The Children of the Duc de Bouillon, Pierre Mignard

Pierre Mignard (French, 1612–1695) 

The Children of the Duc de Bouillon, 1647 

Oil on canvas 

Purchase, Robert Allerton Fund, 1975 (4293.1) 

Pierre Mignard worked both in France and in Italy as a portraitist and painter for powerful patrons such as the Duc de Bouillon, who throughout his life oscillated between resolute support of and violent opposition to King Louis XIII and his chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu. The children depicted in this meticulously painted portrait are three of the Bouillon family’s nine children. All wear fashionable and expensive clothing that indicates the family’s wealth and prestige. The two boys play with a small dog, while the young girl, on the cusp of womanhood, presents the viewer with a satchel of flowers and cherries, symbols of femininity and fecundity.