A family vocation
Isaac was born in Paris in 1614, the son of the Protestant painter Nicolas Moillon. He and his sister Louise lost their father when Isaac was five – later, their mother married the still life painter François Garnier and the children were brought up amongst the painters of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Between 1638 and 1640, he was one of the decorators of the Hôtel Bautru, built by Le Vau – unfortunately it is no longer in existence. It was situated in the street which is now known as Rue Neuve des Petits-Champs. In the gallery and entrance hall he painted Scenes from military life.
He was one of the artists appointed by the well known craftsman, Simon Vouet, to draw designs – landscapes, animals and ornaments – for tapestries which he was to weave. In 1653, Isaac was one of the artists decorating the châteaux around Aubusson.
He was also will known for his work in the Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, where he painted The Miracles of Christ and also an altarpiece depicting Saint Hugues bringing a drowned child back to life (in situ). In the church of Auxey-Duresses, near Beaune, his Christ in a Shroud can still be seen today.
In 1663, he was admitted to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture.
He died on 26th May 1673 and was buried in the Protestant churchyard of Saints-Pères on 29th May – his brother-in-law Etienne Girardot was present at the funeral.
- FARE Michel, La Nature morte en France, Genève, 1962
- FELIBIEN André, Entretiens sur les vies et les ouvrages des plus excellents peintres anciens et modernes, Paris, 1666-1668
- MONTAIGLON Anatole de, PV de l’Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture
- LA MORINERIE, baron de, "Isaac Moillon", Archives de l'Art français, 1858-1860
- LAVEISSIERE Sylvain, "Le Christ au linceul d’Isaac Moillon à l’église d’Auxey-Duresses", Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français, SHAF, Paris, 1973, p. 133-134
- WILHEM Jacques, "Un peintre oublié : Isaac Moillon, de l’Académie royale. Ses oeuvres à l’Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune", Bulletin de la Société de l'histoire de l'art français, SHAF, Paris, 1972, p. 113-132
Samuel Bernard (1615-1687)
Samuel Bernard came from a Reformed Church family and was a key member of the group of Protestant artists who contributed so much to the XVIIth century. He recanted after the Revocation, when he was in his seventies.
Louis Testelin (1615-1655)
At the time Louis Testelin was an artist, belonging to the Reformed Church did not prevent one from having a brilliant career.
Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux (1619-1692)
Gédéon Tallemant des Réaux was a protestant writer and his work consisted of social satire and anecdotes. Unfortunately, it was considered to be somewhat scurrilous and was only really recognized in the middle of the XIX century. In his private life, he shared with other believers the terrible suffering inflicted on protestants in the years leading up to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Louise Moillon (1610-1696)
Louise Moillon was from a Protestant family and became one of the most well known still life painters of her time. Sadly, her old age was darkened by the Revocation and the dreadful consequences it had on her personal life.
The name “Gobelins” represented many things ; an area in Paris, a tapestry workshop, but also, from the Protestant point of view, a family belonging to the Reformed faith and a place of refuge for the XVIIth century Huguenots.