Very Large 17th Century Oil Painting – Portrait of a Diplomat
Striking 17th Century Portrait attributed to Hyacinthe Rigaud (French, 18 July 1659 – 29 December 1743). Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was primarily based in Paris. | Entitled Portrait of a Diplomat | Portrait is unsigned | Housed in an amazing 17th or 18th Century ornate Gold Gilt Frame | Dimensions: 50.0″ W x 64.0″ H x 3.5″ D with frame, 37 × 51.5 image only.
There is a small tear over the figure’s left eye and area suffers from an impact to the same area, and area has some paint loss. Painting has Craquelure consistent with age. Painting is Scheduled to be Repaired and Restored. Pricing is currently “As Is”, and will change upwards upon completion of the repairs. You can see the staple holes around the edge where the original canvas supports were.
Hyacinthe Rigaud and his friendly rival Nicolas de Largillière were their era’s leading portraitists, but Rigaud painted aristocrats while Largillière concentrated on the wealthy bourgeoisie. Their differing approaches reflect their clients’ status. Rigaud’s sitters are shown in elegant stances of natural superiority; they are members of society whose costumes and gestures describe their function within the state. He combined Anthony van Dyck’s prototypes and opulent style with Philippe de Champaigne’s stiff, linear formality. In his unofficial portraits, however, Rigaud’s interest in realism and character displays the influence of Rembrandt van Rijn.
Rigaud studied in Montpellier and Lyon before arriving in Paris in 1681. He won the Prix de Rome in 1682 but on Charles Le Brun’s advice did not go to Italy. In 1688 Rigaud’s flattering, graceful portrait of King Louis XIV’s brother brought him favor at court. His subjects included dignitaries at Versailles, visiting royalty, prominent artists, and church and military leaders. His studio employed both part-time specialists and full-time assistants like Jean-Marc Nattier. They often copied his portraits, which Rigaud touched up as necessary. Elected to the Académie Royale as a history painter in 1700, Rigaud later taught there.
Rigaud was one of the most important portrait painters during the reign of King Louis XIV. His instinct for impressive poses and grand presentations precisely suited the tastes of the royal personages, ambassadors, clerics, courtiers, and financiers who sat for him. Rigaud owes his celebrity to the faithful support he received from the four generations of Bourbons whose portraits he painted. He garnered the core of his clientele among the richest circles as well as among the bourgeois, financiers, nobles, industrialists and government ministers, also courting all the major ambassadors of his time and several European monarchs. His œuvre reads as a near-complete portrait gallery of the chief movers in France from 1680 to 1740. Some of that œuvre (albeit a minority) also includes those of more humble origins – Rigaud’s friends, fellow artists or simple businessmen.
Rigaud is inseparable from his best-known work, a 1701 painting of Louis XIV in his coronation costume which today hangs in the Louvre in Paris, as well as the second copy also requested by Louis XIV that now hangs at the Palace of Versailles. He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period. For Jacques Thuillier, professor at the Collège de France: “ Hyacinthe Rigaud was one of those French painters who knew the highest celebrity under the Ancien Régime. This admiration was deserved both for the surprising abundance of his work and for its constant perfection.”
According to the French art historian Louis Hourticq, “ On his death, Rigaud left behind a gallery of major figures with whom our imagination now populates the galerie des Glaces ; Rigaud was necessary to the ‘gloire’ of Louis XIV and participated in this shining of a reign whose majesty he fixed [in paint]. ” True “photographs”, faces that Diderot called “letters of recommendation written in the common language of all men”, Rigaud’s works today populate the world’s major museums.
Artist / Maker
Portrait of a Diplomat