Jean Marc Nattier - Encyclopedia

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JEAN MARC NATTIER (1685-1766), French painter, was born in Paris in 1685, the son of Marc Nattier, a portrait painter,. and of Marie Courtois, a miniaturist. He received his first instruction from his father, and having applied himself to copying. pictures at the Luxembourg Gallery, he refused to proceed to the French Academy in Rome, though he had taken the first prize at the Paris Academy at the age of fifteen. In 1715 he went to Amsterdam, where Peter the Great was then staying,. and painted portraits of the tsar and the empress Catherine, but declined an offer to go to Russia. Between 1715 and 1720 he devoted himself to compositions like the "Battle of Pultawa,"' which he painted for Peter the Great, and the "Petrification of Phineus and of his Companions," which led to his election to the Academy. The financial collapse of 1720 caused by the schemes of Law all but ruined Nattier, who found himself forced to devote his whole energy to portraiture. He became the painter of the artificial ladies of Louis XV.'s court. The most notable examples of his straightforward portraiture are the "Marie Leczinska" at the Dijon Museum, and a group of the artist surrounded by his family, dated 1730. He died in Paris in 1766. Many of his pictures are in the public collections of France. Thus at the Louvre is his "Magdalen"; at Nantes the portrait of "La Camargo" and "A Lady of the Court of Louis XV." At Orleans a "Head of a Young Girl," at Marseilles a portrait of "Mme de Pompadour," at Perpignan a portrait of "Louis XV.," and at Valenciennes a portrait of "Le Duc de Boufflers." The Versailles Museum owns an important group of two ladies, and the Dresden Gallery a portrait of the "Marechal de Saxe." At the Wallace collection Nattier is represented by "The Comtesse de Dillieres," "The Bath (Mdlle de Clermont)," "Portrait of a Lady in Blue," "Marie Leczinska" and "A Prince of the House of France." In the collection of Mr Lionel Phillips are the duchess of Flavacourt as "Le Silence," and the duchess of Chateauroux as "Le Point du jour." A portrait of the "Comtesse de Neubourg and her Daughter" formed part of the Vaile Collection, and realized 4500 gs. at the sale of this collection in 1903. Nattier's works have been engraved by Leroy, Tardieu, Lepicie, Audran, Dupin and many other noted craftsmen.

See "J. M. Nattier," by Paul Mantz, in the Gazette des beaux-arts (1894); Life of Nattier, by his daughter, Madame Tocque; Nattier, by Pierre de Nolhac (1904, revised 1910); and French Painters of the XVIIIth Century, by Lady Dilke (London, 1899).

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