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Hyacinthe Rigaud, 'Antoine Pâris', probably 1724

Key facts
Full title Antoine Pâris
Artist Hyacinthe Rigaud
Artist dates 1659 - 1743
Date made probably 1724
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 144.7 × 110.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1975
Inventory number NG6428
Location Room 33
Collection Main Collection
Antoine Pâris
Hyacinthe Rigaud

Antoine Paris (1668–1733) was the son of a village innkeeper. With his brother Claude he helped provision French troops, eventually controlling all land and water transport supplying soldiers from Burgundy and the Auvergne. Antoine was appointed Royal Treasurer to Louis XIV in 1722, and this portrait was probably painted in 1724, two years before he fell from favour and was banished.

Rigaud was the most prestigious portraitist in France, known for his elegant and realistic portrayals of aristocrats, financiers and members of Louis XIV’s court. He shows Antoine seated in a library beside an elaborate table, clutching blue velvet drapery and turning as though to greet an unseen visitor. The gesture of Antoine’s right hand is one thought to be most appropriate for eloquent public speech. The fine characterisation of the head, a hallmark of Rigaud and his contemporary Largilliere, seems almost eclipsed by the grandeur of the setting and the dramatic, showy manner in which the draperies are painted.

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