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|Author: Nicolas de Largilliere|
|Painting, Oil on canvas, 68x101 cm|
|Origin: France, 1689|
Largilliere was renowned for his portraits in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was commissioned to produce works for representatives of the very highest French circles. One such commission was a vast composition, now lost, devoted to a sitting of the city fathers in the Hotel de Ville in Paris. Three preparatory sketches now survive, the most finished of which is the Hermitage version.
On 30 January 1687, Louis XVI made a rare visit to the Hotel de Ville. Although he was not present at the sitting which took place later, the artist showed him many times in the canvas, as was demanded by the spirit of the age of absolutism. In the centre is a bust of Louis XVI with his symbol - the sun - on a pedestal, while to the left is a larger statue of the king. Finally we can sense his presence in painted portrait further back in the middle ground.
Largilliere was a superb colourist and a keen observer, allowing him to convey the individual character of each sitter.
|Source of entry: Collection of baron L.A. Crozat de Tierra, Paris, 1772|
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