Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of a Nobleman, wearing gilded armour, white cravat and his dark hair curled 

 French School 

Portrait of a Nobleman, wearing gilded armour, white cravat and his dark hair curled,  French School
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Oil on copper
17th Century
Oval, 3 1/8 (80 mm) high
 
Provenance:
Private Collection UK
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This highly finished portrait miniature of an unknown nobleman in armour is possibly after a lost full-size portrait of the subject and is certainly painted by an accomplished hand. It is reminiscent in style of the work of Nicolas de Largillière (1656-1746), one of the most sought-after French portraitists of the era, with its effortless, life-like quality.

Portrait miniatures depicting men in armour at this date were common, particularly as France, during the last thirty years of Louis XIV’s reign, was almost continuously at war. The War of the League of Augsburg was fought for nine years between 1688 and 1697 and the War of the Spanish Succession continued until 1714. The composition of this portrait miniature is similar to enamel portraits of Louis XIV, also depicted in armour, by Jean Petitot, dating slightly earlier to the 1670s [V&A 703-1882]. It is possible that the nobleman depicted in the present portrait fought for Louis XIV during one of France’s most prosperous times as a dominant power in Europe.
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