C1715 Oil Portrait of a Gentleman, Circle of Hyacinthe Rigaud, France (1659-1743)

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Ex: Titan Fine Art, London. "Circle of" means by a contemporaneous painter within the orbit of the master, but not his pupil. Frame is 92.5cm, Width 76.5cm. The smooth glossy surface is characteristic of the period. Delicious!

Titan Art's description: Painted circa 1715 the subject is portrayed wearing a sumptuous cloak over a jacket and delicate lace frothing around the neck. Textiles, used for either home furnishings or dress, were important indicators of an individual's social rank in this period. In an age when only the wealthiest members of society could afford such expensive and fragile fabrics as silk, satin, and damask, both quality and quantity mattered. Only wealthy individuals could wear lace at this time, and fashion strictly controlled the style and the amount that was shown. European artist’s used drapery to convey wealth and power for centuries but it also offered an excuse to prove their virtuosity at rendering light, surface, and volume – something that Rigaud excelled in. The abundance of fabulous cloth in this painting is therefore an indicator of this man's wealth and importance. The handling of the paints and the detailing in the face is exemplary and illustrates the artist's consummate skill and ability to capture an exact likeness. This, along with the fine characterisation of the head, are hallmarks of the work of Rigaud. Housed in a fine gilt antique frame. Christened Hyacinthe François Honoré Mathias Pierre André Rigaud (baptised 18 July 1659 in Perpignan), Rigaud was, with Nicholas de Largillierre, the leading French portrait painter of the later 17th and early 18th centuries. He was the principal official painter of Louis XIV, and also worked for his successor, Louis XV. The images he created of these kings established patterns for the representation of monarchs that were influential throughout the courts of Europe in the 18th century. Rigaud trained at Montpellier by Paul Petzet and Antoine Ranc from 1671 onwards, before moving to Lyon four years later. It was in these cities that he became familiar with Flemish, Dutch and Italian painting, particularly that of Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt and Titian, whose works he later collected. By 1681 he had settled in Paris and in 1682 he won the Prix de Rome at the French Academy in Rome, but never visited Italy. He was received into the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1710, he rose to the top of this institution before retiring from it in 1735. He ran a prolific studio in Paris, devoting almost exclusively to court portraiture, where pupils assisted him with his commissions, which were predominantly members of the court and French nobility. Measurements: Height 92.5cm, Width 76.5cm framed (Height 36”, Width 30” framed)
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