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Hyacinthe Rigaud: 'Antoine Pâris'

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This portrait is one of the two recorded by Rigaud as being painted in 1724. Antoine Pâris (1668 - 1733) was the oldest of four brothers, sons of an innkeeper, all of whom became wealthy financiers during the early 18th century. Antoine held lucrative appointments in connection with the army and the royal Treasury, but he and his brothers were banished in 1726 when Cardinal Fleury became Louis XV's first minister.

The fine characterisation of the head, a hallmark of the work of Rigaud and of his contemporary, Largilliere (1656 - 1746), seems almost eclipsed by the grandeur of the setting and the bravura handling of the draperies. Antoine Pâris is shown with the grandiloquence characteristic of Rigaud's court portraits: seated in a library beside an elaborate table with the base of an immense column to one side and a vase to the other. Clutching a blue velvet drapery he turns to the right as though greeting an unseen visitor.

The painting's frame is the original.

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