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Jean-Marc Nattier
Birth Date: 
Death Date: 
Nattier succeeded Hyacinthe Rigaud as the leading court portraitist of France. The son and brother of artists, he began his studies under the sponsorship of his godfather, Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet. He received early professional encouragement from Louis XIV when, in 1701, Nattier presented his drawing for the engraving after Rigaud's full-length portrait of the king. He was also influenced by Le Brun and Rubens, whose paintings he copied in Paris. In 1717 he went to Holland to work for Peter the Great and the next year was elected to membership in the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Thereafler he specialized in oil and pastel portraits, depicting the sitters as mythological figures. While reminiscent of a genre popular in the sixteenth century, these are completely different in spirit. Nattier portrayed many of the leading members of the court of Louis XV, but his reputation is firmly based on his portraits of the king, Queen Marie Lesczinska, and their daughters. He excelled as a painter of women, flattering his sitters by endowing them with the attributes of goddessesof Olympus and posing them against a backdrop of classical columns, sumptuous draperies, and decorative elements.