You are here:  HomeArtists › Valenciennes

Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes

Born: Toulouse, 6 December 1750
Died: Paris, 16 February 1819
Nationality: French

with history painter Jean-Baptiste Despax at art academy in Toulouse; with Gabriel-Francois Doyen (1773, Paris); with Joseph Vernet (1781)


1769 – meets patron and influential friend Etienne-François, Duc de Choiseul

1787 – becomes junior member (reçu) of Académie Royale with acceptance of Cicero Uncovering the Tomb of Archimedes (Musée Augustins, Toulouse); exhibits regularly at Salon until his death

1780 – publication of Elémens de perspective pratique a l’usage des artistes (Practical Elements of Perspective for the Use of Artists; Paris)

1812 – Professor of Perspective at Ecole Impériale des Beaux-Arts 


Italy (1769-73, 1777-85)

Important Artworks: 

Classical Landscape, 1779. Drawing (Cleveland Museum of Art)

View of Rome, 1782-84 (Cleveland Museum of Art)

Landscape: Storm, 1817 (The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham)  


Conisbee explains Calenciennes's approach to outdoor sketching:

"Although Valenciennes recommends painting directly from nature, he continually shows himself to be aware that the effects of natural light are extremely fugitive. Except under the relatively constant and diffused light of complete cloud-cover, Valenviennes says that not more than two hours should be spent on painting an oil study from nature; a half-hour must suffice at morning or evening."

Philip Conisbee, "Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes at the Louvre," The Burlington Magazine, vol. 118, no. 878 (May 1976).