Jean-Baptiste Descamps  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Jean-Baptiste Descamps (August 28, 1714 – June 30, 1791) was a French writer and painter of village scenes.

Descamps was born in Dunkirk, but lived principally at Paris, till an accidental circumstance fixed him at Rouen, in 1740. On his way to England, he formed an acquaintance with Le Cornier of Cideville, the friend of Voltaire, who, anxious for the honor of his native town, persuaded the young artist to select it as the place of his future residence. Once settled, he founded, after the Royal Dublin Society following the basic ideas of the Philosophes of the Enlightenment, a tuition-free art school, which was to play a key role in the development of pictorial art in Normandy. Descamps wrote a memoir about this school for the French Academy awarded him a prize.

Literary works

  • La Vie des Peintres Flamands, 4 volumes (I 1753, II 1754, III, 1760, IV 1764)
  • Le Voyage Pittoresque (1769)

Through these works he renewed the interest in the Old Flemish masters, especially Hans Memling and Jan van Eyck. They also had the adverse effect of being used by the French Revolutionary Army, after their invasion of Flanders in 1790, to requisition the best paintings for transport to the Musée Central des Arts in the Louvre, Paris.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jean-Baptiste Descamps" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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