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Jean-Marc Nattier: 'Manon Balletti'
This portrait was probably one exhibited by Nattier at the Salon in 1757.

The sitter (1740 - 1776) was the daughter of an actress in the Comédie Italienne company, and became engaged to Casanova at about the time the portrait was painted. In 1760 she married a more reputable though older suitor, the architect Jacques-François Blondel (1705 - 1774).

In contrast to many of his court portraits, Nattier's representation of Manon Balletti is remarkable for its apparent simplicity. Liveliness is conveyed by the slight turn of the head and the attraction of the sitter emphasised by the rose pinned to her dress.

A veil attached by a brooch in her hair encloses the left side of the portrait where a string of pearls is visible, while a projecting edge of drapery on the right adds a suggestion of rhetorical grandeur to the image.

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