Jean-Marc Nattier (French, 1685–1766),
Portrait of a Lady, traditionally called the Princesse de Lambesc (Jeanne Henriette de Durfort, 1691-1750)
oil on canvas, 32 ¼ x 25 ½ in.; 81.91 x 64.77 cm
Museum purchase, 1945.1
Nattier was a leading portraitist of his day, favored by the French royal family and many members of the European aristocracy. His portraits of the ladies of Louis XV’s court are representative of the Rococo style, the elegant and pleasure-loving art that disappeared with the French Revolution. Every aspect in this painting is delicate, from the thinly applied paint and feathery, spirited brushstrokes to the cool, silvery colors and shimmering fabrics to the woman’s fine aristocratic features. Ignoring the viewer by avoiding eye contact, the portrait focuses on outward appearance rather than exploring the sitter’s psychological individuality.