French Baroque Era Painter, 1593-1670
French painter, printmaker and illustrator. Born into a prosperous family in Tours, he received his early training in Paris, probably in Jacob Bunel's studio. In 1609-10 he travelled to Rome; although his presence there is recorded only in 1618-20, he was probably based there throughout that decade, becoming a member of the community of young French artists that included Simon Vouet and Valentin de Boullogne. They were all predominantly influenced by the art of Caravaggio and of his most direct follower Bartolomeo Manfredi. Vignon's severe half-length figures (St Paul, Turin, Gal. Sabauda; Four Church Fathers, on loan to Cambridge, Fitzwilliam), executed possibly even earlier than 1615, are in a Caravaggesque style, as are his paintings of singers, musicians and drinkers (e.g. the Young Singer, Paris, Louvre), although the latter group owes more to the style of contemporary genre painting. However, Vignon was already showing an interest in new artistic experiments, the origins of which were northern, Venetian and Mannerist. His sensitivity to the splendid colouring of Venice and to the art of Jacques Bellange, Georges Lallemand and Jacques Callot is manifest in his Martyrdom of St Matthew (1617; Arras, Mus. B.-A.), a work with striking references to Caravaggio's painting of the same subject (Rome, S Luigi dei Francesi), and still more so in his Adoration of the Magi (1619; Dayton, OH, A. Inst.), which also shows clear links with the art of several precursors of Rembrandt, including Adam Elsheimer, Pieter Lastman, Jakob Pynas and particularly Leonard Bramer.