Artibus et Historiae no. 71 (XXXVI)

2015, ISSN 0391-9064

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BARBARA HRYSZKO - Alexandre Ubeleski (Ubelesqui): The Œuvre of the Painter and the Definition of his Style (pp. 226-280)

The purpose of this article is to identify the undisputed works of Alexandre Ubeleski (1649/1651–21 April 1718), a painter of Polish origin, who worked in the service of Louis XIV and was affiliated with the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. A number of facts concerning the painter’s life were established on the basis of archival documentation. Thanks to the archival sources, history of individual works and the analysis of the painter’s signatures it was possible to identify Ubeleski’s output consisting of forty-four works, including: seven paintings, twenty preparatory drawings for paintings and seventeen académies. Another twenty-eight works are documented in prints and over fifty-three works are known only from written sources. Although the surviving works constitute merely a small percentage of the artist’s total output, they may serve as evidence in defining his style. One may hope that defining the painter’s style and the common element of all of his paintings and drawings shall serve as a basis for the future attribution of works that may appear, for instance, in the antiquarian trade.

The painter was one of many artists at the time whose work was strictly defined by the academic canon. Ubeleski’s style was fundamentally influenced by his studies at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in Paris. This very institution was his basic source of inspiration. It was there that the artist learned about the works of great masters. The classical style and the preponderance of drawing in his works contributed to his early successes which started his academic career, and gained him the chair of a professor. Ubeleski’s artistic output is a representative sample of the French academic art in the reign of Louis XIV. The nature of his œuvre indicates that he was one of the Poussinistes, who valued classical models of great predecessors over creative experiments.

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