Barthélemy Prieur (1536 - 1611)

Black Venus

Barthélemy Prieur, Black Venus, Paris, ca. 1600
Barthélemy Prieur, Black Venus, Paris, ca. 1600

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Barthélemy Prieur

1536 - 1611

Prieur was descended from a Huguenot family of farmers and artists from the northern part of Champagne. Nothing is known of his training as an artist. He travelled to Italy in the early 1560s where there is evidence of his presence as a sculptor at the court of Turin in 1564. He is mentioned as having been in Paris for the first time in 1571. He must have already enjoyed a good reputation in Paris at the time, for he received major commissions, for example for funerary monuments. He fled the Wars of Religion by going to Sedan in 1585. During a stay at the court he was appointed court sculptor by Henry IV, succeeding Germain Pilon. For a long time Prieur was known only as an author of large figural works. A multitude of small bronzes have since been attributed to him, including portraits of the French royal couple and the Black Venus as well as various genre figures and depictions of animals.

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