Signed and dated bottom left: Nattier Pinxit / 1747
Nattier came from an artistic milieu; his father was a portrait painter, his mother painted miniatures, and his godfather was the history painter Jean Jouvenet. Nattier studied with his parents and godfather, and then at the Royal Academy, where he was accepted as an official member in 1717. He became a sought-after portraitist, mostly of women, whom he often depicted allegorically as figures from mythology or ancient history. In the 1740s, he painted Madame de Pompadour as Diana, and received commissions to paint the daughters of Louis XV for the royal bedchamber at Versailles, as well as the queen, Maria Leczinska. Here, Elisabeth de Flesselles, wife of Parisian banker Jacques de Flesselles, is pictured as the source, or the personification, of a river. The oar signifies that the river, spilling from her urn, is navigable.
Heather MacDonald, French Art of the Eighteenth Century: The Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture Series at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art, 2016).
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H.R.H., "The Art Museum at Princeton University: a selection from the collections", Art Journal 26, no. 2 (Winter, 1966-1967): p. 172+174+176+178.
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Bernard Prost and Paul Mantz, "J. M. Nattier", Gazette des beaux-arts 11 (n.s. 3) (1894): p. 92-114; 12 (n.s. 3) (1894): p. 435-448; (illus.)
Catalogue de l'exposition de Marie-Antoinette et son temps, (Paris: Sedelmeyer Gallery, 1894).
Catalogue of the celebrated collection of paintings by modern and ancient masters formed by the late Senator Prosper Crabbe of Brussels: which will be sold by auction at the Sedelmeyer Galleries: Thursday June 12, 1890 ... under the management of Charles Sedelmeyer, assisted by Arthur Stevens: public auctioneer, Me. Paul Chevallier, (Paris: Sedelmeyer Galleries, 1890).
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