Clouet, Jean

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Jean Clouet (zhäN klōōā´), called Janet or Jehannet (both: zhänĕ´), c.1485–1540, portrait and miniature painter. He was court painter and valet de chambre to the French king Francis I. He is thought to have been Flemish and may have been related to Jehan Cloët, painter to the duke of Burgundy in the late 15th cent. None of the works attributed to Jean Clouet can be proved to have been his. They include portraits of Francis I (Louvre), the dauphin Francis (Antwerp), and Charles de Cossé (Metropolitan Mus.); seven miniature portraits (Bibliothèque nationale); and a large number of portrait drawings, all of the highest quality. The drawings are characterized by a geometric simplicity of form and softness of modeling. His son, François Clouet, c.1510–c.1572, also called Janet or Jehannet, inherited his father's position, serving as court painter successively under Francis I, Henry II, Francis II, and Charles IX. His work is notable for its clarity and precision of draughtsmanship. He enjoyed a high reputation and was patronized by many notables of the court. Attributed to him are two portraits of Francis (Uffizi; Louvre); portraits of Catherine de' Medici (Versailles), Elizabeth of Austria (Louvre), and Charles IX (Vienna); and one thought to be of Diane de Poitiers (called Lady in Her Bath, National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.). There are also a large number of portrait drawings preserved in Chantilly and in the Bibliothèque nationale and the Cabinet des Estampes, Paris.

See his complete drawings, miniatures, and paintings, ed. by P. Mellen (1971).