Jacques Cazotte

This is generally considered the masterpiece of Perronneau as a painter in oil - lively and colourful in its representation of a sitter of unusual vivacity. Cazotte (1719 - 1792) had served as a naval administrator, spending the years 1747-59 largely in Martinique. His main interests were literary and he was celebrated in his day for his verses and novels, and for his wit. He was guillotined during the French Revolution.

Perronneau's portrait is unusual in showing the sitter turned away from the spectator, as though in lively conversation with a companion to his right. The vivacity of the expression is matched by the brilliant handling of the pink costume, the coat unbuttoned and a black triangular hat tucked under the sitter's left arm. In these respects the portrait contrasts with the more direct approach of La Tour as shown in his portrait of Henry Dawkins.

Key facts

Artist dates
1715/16 - 1783
Full title
Jacques Cazotte
Date made
probably 1753
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
92.1 x 73 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1976
Inventory number
Location in Gallery