In this ongoing series for Fine Art Today, we take a longer look at the history and features of a soon-to-be-available artwork of note. This week: Eustache le Sueur, “The Deposition.”
Primarily known for his religious paintings, Eustache le Sueur (1617-1655) was also an important founder of the French Academy of Painting. Born in Paris in 1617, Sueur was raised in an artistic family. His father, Cathelin, was a popular wood turner and sculptor. Sueur’s talent was immediately recognizable at a young age, and he was accepted into the guild of master painters.
Often executed with precision and brilliant color, Sueur’s religious subjects were copied frequently by engravers. A student under Simon Vouet during his formative years, Sueur would later adopt the style of Nicolas Poussin. The Getty Museum suggests, “Sueur became interested in the psychological aspect of his subjects and developed a new classicism of composition and modeling while retaining his characteristic delicate, refined colors and tenderness.” Delacroix once remarked, “A single figure by him is a perfect harmony of line and effect, and when many figures are assembled in one picture, everything is brought into harmony.”
Heading to auction via Bonhams’ Old Master Paintings sale on November 2 is a gorgeous canonical Biblical scene by Sueur. In his typical style, Sueur’s “Deposition” has a tenderness, softness, and elegance despite the grave subject. A deceased Christ is presented to the viewer just after his removal from the cross. Joseph of Arimathea supports Christ’s torso as the Virgin — located at center and in blue — tearfully gazes at her son. The youthful John, shown in his canonical red and green robes, consoles the mournful mother. Kneeling and kissing Christ’s feet is not Nicodemus, however, but a female figure presumed here to be Mary Magdalene.
Auction estimates are between $18,000 and $24,000. To learn more, visit Bonhams.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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