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Jean-Marc Nattier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jean-Marc Nattier
Louis Tocqué, Jean-Marc Nattier (1740s).jpg
Portrait of Jean-Marc Nattier by Louis Tocqué (late 1740s)
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jean-Marc Nattier

(1685-03-17)17 March 1685
Died7 November 1766(1766-11-07) (aged 81)
Paris, Kingdom of France
Known forPainting

Jean-Marc Nattier (17 March 1685 – 7 November 1766), French painter, was born in Paris, the second son of Marc Nattier (1642–1705), a portrait painter, and of Marie Courtois (1655–1703), a miniaturist. He is noted for his portraits of the ladies of King Louis XV's court in classical mythological attire.

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The legitimized son of Henri IV and Gabrielle d’Estrées, César de Bourbon, Duc de Vendôme, who was already as a child engaged to a niece of queen Louise de Lorraine, inherited Chenonceau, but he and his wife never lived there. On July 14, 1650, king Louis XIV was one of the last members of the royal family who made a visit to Chenonceau. In memory of this visit, much later, he offered his uncle, César de Bourbon, his portrait with an extraordinary frame, made up of only four huge pieces of wood The portrait hangs in a room of the castle named after him. In the same room is also a portrait of his grandson, Louis XV. In another room you can admire the famous Three Graces by Jean-Baptiste van Loo representing the "Mesdemoiselles de Mailly-Nesle”, three sisters who were successive favorites of King Louis XV: Madame de Châteauroux, Vintimille, Mailly. Dressed up, these ladies look like this. In the decennia that followed, Chenonceau entered during one time of abandonment. Year by year, the contents: furniture, paintings and the books collected by Catherine de’ Medici and Louise Lorraine, were dispersed. Numerous statues, standing in the niches of the gallery, were given or sold to the Palace of Versailles. Then, in 1733, a beautiful woman with great erudition, Madame Louise Marie Madeleine Dupin-Fontaine enters the scene. She is married to a wealthy farmer general, and the daughter of the mistress of one of the richest bankers in Europe at the time. Madame Dupin brought life back to the castle by entertaining the leaders of The Enlightenment, among others: Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Once again Chenonceau had its former splendor. It became an important pole of literary activity. In his "Confessions", Jean-Jacques Rousseau speaks with heat about this happy time: “We amused ourselves very agreeably in this beautiful place, and lived very well: I became as fat there as a monk.” Rousseau – as he wrote in his memoirs - was dazzled by the beauty of Madame Dupin, and was on times her secretary and became for a short while the tutor of her son. On the basis of this tutorship he wrote his famous treaty on education: "Émile, ou de l’Éducation". The book immediately had profound effects through its new insights into children and into methods of teaching. Madame Dupin lived to an advanced age, surrounded of the affection of the neighbouring villagers. She saved the château from destruction during the French Revolution, preserving it from being destroyed by the Revolutionary Guard because it was essential to travel and commerce being the only bridge across the river for many miles. Madame Dupin is said to be the one who changed the spelling of the Château during the revolution to please the villagers. She dropped the "x" at the end of the Château's name to differentiate what was a symbol of royalty from the Republic, but the neighboring village with the same name kept the ‘x’. Although no official sources have been found to support this legend, the Château has been since referred to and accepted as Chenonceau without a ‘x’. According to her wish, at the age of 93, she was buried in the park. A walk through the castle, across the river Cher, and through the woods leads to her tomb.



He received his first instruction from his father, and from his uncle, the history painter Jean Jouvenet (1644–1717). He enrolled in the Royal Academy in 1703 and applied himself to copying pictures in the Luxembourg Palace, making a series of drawings of the Marie de Médici painting cycle by Peter Paul Rubens. The publication (1710) of engravings based on these drawings made Nattier famous, but he declined 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.[1]

Nattier aspired to be a history painter. 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.


Jean-Marc Nattier - Portrait of Madame Marie-Henriette Berthelot de Pléneuf
Jean-Marc Nattier - Portrait of Madame Marie-Henriette Berthelot de Pléneuf

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, which was more lucrative. He became the painter of the artificial ladies of Louis XV's court. He subsequently revived the genre of the allegorical portrait, in which a living person is depicted as a Greco-Roman goddess or other mythological figure.[1]

Nattier's graceful and charming portraits of court ladies in this mode were very fashionable, partly because he could beautify a sitter while also retaining her likeness. 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,"The Artist Surrounded by His Family", dated 1730. He died in Paris in 1766.[1]

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 Orléans 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 "Maréchal de Saxe".

At the Wallace collection Nattier is represented by "The comtesse de Tillières" (formerly known as "Portrait of a Lady in Blue"), "Mademoiselle de Clermont en sultane", and "The marquise de Belestat". In the early part of the 20th century in the collection of Mr Lionel Phillips were the duchess of Flavacourt as "Le Silence", and the duchess of Châteauroux as "Le Point du jour" (now at Marseilles). A portrait of the Comtesse de Neubourg and her Daughter formed part of the Vaile Collection, and realized 4500 guineas at the sale of this collection in 1903. Nattier's works have been engraved by Alphonse Leroy, Tardieu, Jean Audran (1667–1756), Dupin and many other noted craftsmen.

The 1753 Marquis de Marigny is in the collection of the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. [2] The Getty Museum has "Madame Bonier de la Mosson as Diana", 1742. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has "Madame de Maison-Rouge as Diana", 1756.[1]

Select gallery


  • Nattier: Jean-Marc Nattier Masters in Art: A Series of Illustrated Monographs: Issued Monthly; June, 1902, Part 30, Vol. 3, (Bates & Guild Co., Boston)


  1. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  2. ^ "Acquisitions of the month: November 2018". Apollo Magazine.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Nattier, Jean Marc" . Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.; Endnotes:

  • See "J. M. Nattier", by Paul Mantz, in the Gazette des beaux-arts (1894)
  • Life of Nattier, by his daughter, Madame Tocqué
  • Nattier by Pierre de Nolhac (1904, revised 1910)
  • French Painters of the XVIIIth Century, by Lady Dilke (London, 1899).
This page was last edited on 28 January 2019, at 22:26
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