Nicolas Moilon was both a painter and a shrewd businessman
Nicolas Moillon was born in Maris in 1555. In 1605 he married Marie Gilbert, the daughter of a goldsmith, in the church at Charenton. They had seven children, several of whom later became painters, of whom Louise was the most successful. We know that Nicolas painted portraits and landscapes. There are engravings of three of his paintings, Landscapes in the Tyrol, dated 1613.
Nicolas Moillon worked as a painter for the king and belonged to the Academy of Saint-Luc, (a powerful corporation of painters). In 1616 he bought a shop called the “Franc Gaulois” on Notre Dame Bridge. He must have done good business because the following year he bought several stalls in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés market – in this way he could attract more customers and set up links with the Saint-Germain painters. The Saint-Germain-des-Prés Corporation had a certain degree of freedom because franchises granted by the abbey, which enabled it assist many provincial and foreign painters who had come to Paris (often Flemish or Northern European), to break free from the overbearing supervision of the Parisian Corporation, which forced them to adhere to a rigid set of rules.
Nicolas Moillon was both a painter and a dealer in pictures – this was quite common at the time. Because of his business, he was also a pawnbroker.
He died in September 1619 and his wife sold the lease of their house on Notre Dame Bridge to a man dealing in engravings, Melchior Tavernier, who was probably also a Protestant.
- FARE Michel, La Nature morte en France, Genève, 1962
- LA MORINERIE, baron de, "Isaac Moillon", Archives de l'Art français, 1858-1860
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.
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.
Isaac Moillon (1614-1673)
Isaac Moillon belonged to a large family of Protestant painters in Paris – they worked in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Pierre Bayle (1647-1706)
Pierre Bayle can be seen as a forerunner of the Age of Enlightenment because the concept of tolerance was of great importance to him and, a true scholar, he specialized in historical criticism.
Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)
Sébastien Bourdon is the most well known of the Protestant painters of the XVIIth century. He started life in Montpellier and later moved to Paris, where he received some major commissions and was also a co-founder of the Academy, with other Protestant artists. Another important event in his career was when he went to Stockholm, at the invitation of Queen Christine of Sweden. He remained a prominent personality in the Parisian circle of Protestant artists all his life.