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Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

1715/16 - 1783

Perronneau was, after Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, his older contemporary, the most famous specialist of portraiture in pastel in 18th-century France. The use of pastel as a medium had become fashionable in Paris after the visit of the Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera in 1719-20.

Perronneau was born in Paris and is thought to have been trained by Charles-Joseph Natoire and by the engraver Laurent Cars. He began his career as an engraver before turning to portraiture, in oil as well as in pastel. He became a member of the Academy in 1753. In France Perronneau was less successful than La Tour, who portrayed most of the leading figures of the age. Perronneau spent a wandering life, which took him to Italy in 1759, to Russia in 1781 and frequently to Amsterdam, where he died.