Saint Louis, King of France, Delivering a Book to a King, probably John V of Portugal by Francisco Vieira de Matos, called Vieira Lusitano

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A rare and remarkable drawing by a major exponent of 18th-century Portuguese painting.

Saint Louis, King of France, Delivering a Book to a King, probably John V of Portugal by Francisco Vieira de Matos, called Vieira Lusitano.

Francisco Vieira de Matos, called Vieira Lusitano

Lisbon 1699 – 1783

Saint Louis, King of France, Delivering a Book to a King, probably John V of Portugal

Inscribed by the artist OC FAC ET VIVES at the center and lower left by another hand Idée de Giuseppino ou Joseph Cesari né / au chateau d’Apino, Royaume de Naples. / en 1570. mort a Rome en 1640. Pensionaire de / Gregoire XIII. Michel / Ange fut son Rival. ce / qui constate son Eloge. 

Brown ink, red chalk, grey watercolour.

227 x 167 mm – 8 15/16x 6 9/16 in.

Provenance – Charles-François Marquis de Calvière, Paris and Avignon; Sotheby’s 2004 (as attributed to Giuseppe Passeri); Marty de Cambiaire, Paintings and drawings, catalogue, 2018, p. 92.

Dario Beccarini recently attributed this drawing to the main exponent of 18th-century Portuguese painting, Francisco Vieira de Matos, called Vieira Lusitano. This sophisticated sheet represents Saint Louis (Louis IX of France) giving another king a book which cover bears the line from the Gospel of Luke (10:28) [H]oc fac et vives (Do this and you will live).

Vieira also used the same compositional idea in a print representing Saint Louis and the King of Castile, identifiable by the presence on his cloak of castles and lions and his wearing the orders of the Holy Spirit and Golden Fleece. Among all these distinctions, the king represented on our drawing only wears the Golden fleece. According to Dario Beccarini, he could be identified as John V of Portugal, Vieira’s main patron after his long Roman sojourn, from 1728 onwards.

A splendid example of Vieira’s graphic manner, this drawing compares well to others by this artist and offers an interesting addition to his corpus. The interesting French provenance (Marquis de Calvière) shows that his drawings were sought after by important European collectors.  

Condition report – Laid down on an old mount, excellent condition.