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One of at least four versions of St. Sebastian Aided by St. Irene by Bigot
Singer with a Candle, Trophime Bigot. Galeria Doria Pamphili, Rome.

Trophime Bigot (1579-1649/50), also known as Théophile Bigot, Teofili Trufemondi, Candlelight Master, Maître à la Chandelle[1][2], was a French painter of the Baroque era, active in Rome and his native Provence.

Bigot was born in Arles in 1579, where he began his artistic career. Between 1620 and 1634, Bigot was in Italy, including Rome. He is known to have been in Arles in 1634, where he painted the altarpiece Saint Laurent condamné au supplice (Saint Laurence Condemned to Torture) and Assomption de la Vierge (Assumption of the Virgin) for local churches there.

Between 1638 and 1642, he lived in Aix-en-Provence, where he painted another Assumption of the Virgin. He returned to Arles in 1642, and divided his activities between this city and Avignon, where he died around 1650.

Bigot has always been known from his documented altarpieces in Provence, but the English art historian Benedict Nicolson was the first to propose that he was identical with the artist called Maître à la chandelle (Candlelight Master), who was active in Rome, producing relatively small candle-lit scenes with heavy but subtle chiaroscuro in a style similar to that of Georges de la Tour. He connected a figure documented in Italy as variously Teofili Trufemondi/Trofamonti/Troffamondi/Bigotti with this artist, and suggested these were Italian versions of Bigot's names. This theory was much disussed, and for a while many believed that there were two Trophime Bigots, father and son.[3] It is now generally accepted that the two artists were the same man, who painted in two different styles according to the different demands of the Roman and Provencal markets. “It seems, however, that Bigot was simply adapting to new circumstances.”[3]

After he returned to France, Bigot produced altarpieces, at Arles and at Aix-en-Provence, that are in a very different and more conventional style from the Roman candle-lit works.[3] In the Roman works the light-source is usually either a single candle, which for an extra softness of light is sometimes shown held in a bag-like paper, as in the works in Vienna and Bordeaux. As with de la Tour, the same subjects are often repeated in differing compsitions, with many St Jeromes and at least four versions of St. Sebastian Aided by St. Irene: in Bordeaux, the Vatican Pinacoteca, Bob Jones University in South Carolina,[4] and the Portland Art Museum in Oregon.

About 40 paintings, distributed amongst various museums, have been attributed to Bigot, among them:


  1. ^ Getty ULAN
  2. ^ "Trophime Bigot". Art Encyclopedia. 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c Anthony Blunt, Richard Beresford, Art and architecture in France, 1500-1700 (Yale University Press, 1999), p. 291.
  4. ^ Bob Jones University
  5. ^ Anne Tuloup-Smith - Rues d'Arles, qui êtes-vous ? page 63

Further reading

  • J.P. Cuzin, “Trophime Bigot in Rome: a suggestion,” Burl. Mag., CXXI (1979).
  • J. Boyer, “The Only and Only Trophime Bigot,” Burl. Mag., CXXX (1988).

External links



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