Jacques Cartier - The space we live in - Critical Acclaim - Exhibitions - Library and Archives Canada
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The Space we Live In

Imaginary portrait of Jacques Cartier, ca. 1844, by Théophile Hamel (1817-1870) after François Riss

"No authentic portrait of Cartier is known" according to Marcel Trudel, writing in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Nevertheless, the need for heroes has driven a whole industry of imaginary portraits of early explorers and settlers.

In the case of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), one of the best-known early explorers of Canada, this portrait is supposed to be derived from one done in 1839 for the town hall in Saint-Malo, France, but which was subsequently destroyed. Whether based on fact or not, this portrayal of Cartier as heroic and thoughtful is well-suited to the role he played in Canadian history.


Further reading:
Denis Martin, Portraits des héros de la Nouvelle-France (LaSalle, QC: Éditions Hurtubise HMH, 1988)