Painter, printmaker and writer, part of a French family of artists. Gilles Testelin (1589 or 1592-1632), painter to Louis XIII, was the father of Louis Testelin (1615-1665) and Henri Testelin, both of whom studied painting with Simon Vouet
and in 1648 were among the founders of the Acadmie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.
As a member of the circle of Charles Le Brun,
Henri Testelin endorsed his connection with the Acadmie Royale by submitting an allegorical portrait of Louis XIV in Childhood as Patron of the Arts (Versailles, Chteau) as his morceau de rception. He was secretary of the Acadmie from 1650 and a professor from 1656. He produced several tapestry cartoons based on designs by Le Brun for the Gobelins, including the Wedding of Louis XIV and Maria-Theresa on 9 June 1660 (before 1665) and the Founding of the Acadmie des Sciences and the Observatory in 1666 (both Versailles, Chteau). He was active also as a court portrait painter, exhibiting portraits of Louis XIV as Patron of the Acadmie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture (exh. Salon 1673; Versailles, Chteau) and of Maria-Theresa, Queen of France (exh. Salon 1673; untraced). Also at the Salon of 1673 he showed a history painting, Time Clipping Cupid s Wings (untraced).
In 1680 he published his Sentiments des plus habiles peintres, which reflects the body of academic theory established by Le Brun and the Acadmie Royale. As a Protestant, Testelin was excluded from the Acadmie in 1681, and he left France to settle in the Netherlands. His portraits show the influence of Jean Nocret and of Le Brun,
although the drawing is harsher, the attitudes stiffer and the colour less subtle.
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