Jean-Marc Nattier - Portrait Of Marquise D'Argenson - Walters 37895
The elegant works of Jean-Marc Nattier exemplify mid 18th-century French portraiture. Although he was admitted to the Académie Royale (Royal Academy) as a painter of historical subjects (then ranked as the highest category of painting), Nattier specialized in the less prestigious genre of portraiture. Though he worked at the court of Louis XV, he broke with the baroque tradition of grandiose portraits. Instead, he produced naturalistic paintings of Queen Marie Leszczynska and her daughters, as well as Mme. de Pompadour and other members of the nobility.
The subject of this light-hearted, informal portrait is Suzanne-Marguerite Fyot de La Marche (1731-1784), the young wife of Marc-René de Voyer de Paulmy d'Argenson (1722–1787), marquis of Paulmy, who was minister of war under Louis XV and French ambassador to Poland.
Jean-Marc Nattier (1685–1766) was a French Rococo painter noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV’s court in classical mythological attire. Born into a family of artists. The first lessons of painting Jean-Marc Nattier received from his father, then attended drawing courses at the Royal Academy. At the age of fifteen Nattier was awarded the first art prize of the Paris Academy. In 1717 Nattier went on a trip to Holland, met in Amsterdam with Peter, and drew portraits of the king and the Russian Empress Catherine. Jean-Marc Nattier spent almost all his life in Paris.