Abbé David-Henri Têtu, 1835
oil on canvas
121.8 x 101.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 14895)
After studying in Paris under Paulin Guérin and absorbing the influence of his neoclassical painting approach, Antoine Plamondon developed into one of the finest portraitists of his era. David-Henri Têtu belonged to a leading family from the Côte-du-Sud region, and it was they who commissioned this portrait for the family home in Montmagny, during the period when the young priest was in charge of the Quebec City parish of Saint-Roch. He is shown standing, in a three-quarter pose, against an illuminated red drapery. With the fingers of his right hand slipped inside his cassock, he rests the left on a pile of books. These, along with an inkpot and a few sheets of paper, form a small still life on the table in the foreground. The overriding impression is one of nobility.