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Louise Moillon

1610–1696

Like many women artists of the time, Moillon came from a family of artists, in which she was exposed to the techniques of oil painting from an early age. Her father and stepfather were painters as well as art dealers, and her brother Isaac was one of the earliest members of the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.

Born and raised in Paris, Moillon lived in the neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, an area of Paris that was an enclave of Protestant refugees from the southern Netherlands. Among these expatriates were artists who brought with them their tradition of tabletop still-life painting. Moillion, also a Protestant, was a leading member of this group, and with them developed her sober and dignified style featuring arrangements of fruit and flowers.

Moillon received lavish praise from her contemporaries and had several prominent patrons. Despite this, she seems to have taken a break from painting between the early 1640s and the 1670s. Most scholars believe that this was due to her increasing domestic duties after her marriage in 1640. Moillon and her husband, Etienne Girardot, had at least three children together.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Louise Moillon
  • Birth

    Paris, 1610
  • Death

    Paris, 1696
  • Phonetic Spelling

    loo-EEZE MOY-uhn

Works by Louise Moillon

Bowl of Lemons and Oranges on a Box of Wood Shavings and Pomegranates

Louise Moillon is best known for images such as Bowl of Lemons and Oranges on a Box of Wood Shavings and Pomegranates. The composition’s elegant simplicity complements her technique—she masterfully rendered the distinctive textures of the fruit, leaves, wooden box, and water droplets, giving the painting an almost photographic quality.

This method of illusionism, known as trompe l’oeil (fool the eye), was a...

A vessel mounded with 5 oranges, a lemon, and greenery sits atop an oval, wooden box resting on a wooden plank. In the foreground, two pomegranates, one of which has split open and dropped three seeds, balance near the plank’s edge. Droplets of water dot the fruit and the table.