Simon Vouet (9 January 1590 – 30 June 1649)
Simon Vouet (9 January 1590 – 30 June 1649) was a French painter and draftsman, who today is perhaps best remembered for helping to introduce the Italian Baroque style of painting to France.
His father Laurent was a painter in Paris and taught him the rudiments of art. Simon's brother Aubin Vouet (1595–1641) and his grandson Ludovico Dorigny (1654–1742) were also painters. Simon began his painting career as a portrait painter. At a young age he travelled to England and was part of the entourage of the Baron de Sancy, French ambassador to Constantinople. From there he went to Venice and was in Rome in 1614.
He spent an extensive period of time in Italy, from 1613 to 1627. He was mostly in Rome where the Baroque style was emerging during these years. He received a pension from the King of France and his patrons included the Barberini family, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Paolo Giordano Orsini and Vincenzo Giustiniani. He also visited other parts of Italy: Venice; Bologna, (where the Carracci family had their academy); Genoa, (where from 1620 to 1622, he worked for the Doria princes); and Naples. He was a natural academic, who absorbed what he saw and studied, and distilled it in his painting: Caravaggio's dramatic lighting; Italian Mannerism; Paolo Veronese's color and di sotto in su or foreshortened perspective; and the art of Carracci, Guercino, Lanfranco and Guido Reni. Vouet's immense success in Rome led to his election as president of the Accademia di San Luca in 1624. In 1626 he married Virginia da Vezzo who modelled Madonnas for Vouet's religious commissions.