Réattu the collector

A mysterious companion

Simon or Aubin Vouet ?

During his stay in Rome, Jacques Réattu acquired a splendid portrait of a Caravaggesque youth. It would accompany him throughout his life, observing the painter, murmuring encouragement to him.
Little did Jacques Réattu guess that the portraitist was none other than Simon Vouet, one of the greatest French painters of the 17th century. In fact, it was Sir Anthony Blunt who made the attribution in 1946, going so far as to identify it as a self-portrait.
While there is no question that Vouet was its author, following an exhibition on the painter's Italian years by the Musée des Beaux Arts in Nantes, it is now believed that it is portrait of the painter's brother, Aubin Vouet.