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Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, 'Jacques Cazotte', probably 1753

Key facts
Full title Jacques Cazotte
Artist Jean-Baptiste Perronneau
Artist dates 1715/16 - 1783
Date made probably 1753
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 92.1 × 73 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1976
Inventory number NG6435
Location Room 33
Collection Main Collection
Jacques Cazotte
Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

Jacques Cazotte (1719–1792) is best known as the author of Le Diable amoureux (‘The Amorous Devil’), and other fantastical fiction. He was also a colonial administrator, a maker and supplier of fine wine, an amateur painter, a collector of old master paintings and a dabbler in counter-revolutionary circles. His epic prose poem Ollivier, based on Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, was published in 1763 to immediate success.

However, Cazotte’s life was to be cut short by the French Revolution. After personal letters setting out his political opinions were discovered in 1792, he was arrested and imprisoned for counter-revolution. On 25 September 1792, he was executed on the guillotine, where he exclaimed to the crowd: ‘I die as I have lived, faithful to God and to my king.’

Cazotte appears relaxed and amused, with his hat tucked under his arm. The portrait may have been commissioned in 1753 when Perronneau became an Academician – a date which would be consistent with Cazotte’s age here.

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