Plan du monastère de Port-Royal-des-Champs d’après une gravure de Magdeleine Hortemels
Louise-Magdeleine Horthemels, or Louise-Madeleine Hortemels, also called Magdeleine Horthemels (1686 – 2 October 1767), was a French engraver, the mother of Charles-Nicolas Cochin. She is also sometimes credited under her married name of Louise Madeleine Cochin or Madeleine Cochin.
Horthemels was active in Paris as an engraver for nearly fifty years and produced more than sixty signed copper plates.
Her first published work was a frontispiece for Alain-René Lesage’s novel Le Diable boiteux(fr) (1707), which she signed Magdeleine Horthemels fec. Her later work is signed variously Magd. Horthemels, L. Mag. Horthemels, M. Horthemels, Magd. Horthemels Sponsa C. Cochin, and Magdeleine Cochin.
It was long believed that Louise-Magdeleine and her sisters Marie-Nicole and Marie-Anne-Hyacinthe all signed work Marie Horthemels, but a careful study has shown that the signed work of the sisters can easily be distinguished. Nevertheless, the members of the family commonly worked together on a single composition.
Louise-Magdeleine Horthemels engraved paintings by Nicolas Poussin, Charles Le Brun, Antoine Coypel, Michel Corneille the Younger, Claude Vignon, and Nicolas Lancret,and produced illustrations for a history of the Hôtel des Invalides and for a history of the Languedoc, in collaboration with her husband Charles-Nicolas Cochin the Elder. She designed a series of twenty-three plates depicting the nuns of the abbey of Port-Royal and their everyday life. The abolition of the abbey had been ordered by a bull of Pope Clement XI in September 1708, the remaining nuns were forcibly removed in 1709, and most of the buildings were razed to the ground in 1710, on the orders of the Conseil du Roi of King Louis XIV.
Horthemels completed a great plate called Le feu d’artifice de la place de Navone, after Giovanni Pannini, which had been begun by her son Charles Nicolas Cochin. She also engraved portraits, such as a copper engraving of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, after an early eighteenth century painting by her brother-in-law Alexis Simon Belle.
In the early work of Horthemels as an engraver, there is a certain rigidity of line, while architectural detail is emphasized. However, her skill lay in engraving the work of others so that their genius was revealed and her own style was suppressed. Her hand was sure, and her work shows a delicacy and clarity of touch which were much admired in her own time.