Philippe de Champaigne
Here's my favorite painting from my visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum last week (which is not to say that it will be my favorite next time)
It's got that insane rationality that is such a wonderful feature of the Roman church -- so precise -- so logical -- and so nutty -- culminating in this utter confliction of the iconoclastic prophet/chieftain of the desert (Moses) being depicted as a French scholar/saint in his library.
There's that delightful sense of analysis: things being broken down into their constituent parts --- and then the parts being reassembled using the principles of structure that have been discovered.
(and I like that nod to the mistranslation of Moses being "horned" when he came down from the mountain. As you might recall -- Michelangelo gave Moses two real horns protruding from his skull -- while Philippe seems to be hedging his bets. His Moses could have horns -- or maybe just a saintly halo)
It's the high-level of orderliness that is so distinctive -- reaching down into the structures of appearance (light over skin over flesh over bone)and composing them into sweet, poignant chamber music --- that is so fine in the detail and so grand in overall effect. Can you really see this Moses leading an illiterate rabble of fleeing slaves accross the desert ? This is an intelligent, sensitive scholar of the 17th Century, pondering the great spiritual issues of his time.
And nobody does hands like Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674)-- that delicate sense of fleshiness. These are hands for playing a musical instrument -- not for swinging a battle axe.