Skip to main content
Manon Balletti
Jean-Marc Nattier
/

Maria Maddalena Balletti, known as Manon Balletti, was the daughter of Antonio Giuseppe Balletti, an actor in the Comédie Italienne. Her brother Stefano, also an actor, was friends with the Venetian adventurer and author Giacomo Casanova, who declared his love for Manon. She broke off her existing engagement to her music teacher for Casanova, but after a three-year on-off courtship gave up waiting for marriage and wed M. Blondel, the king’s architect, in 1760.

Casanova knew Nattier and may have commissioned this pastel portrait of Manon. She wears two violas in her hair or attached to her veil. In the language of flowers violas or pansies mean ‘thoughts of the beloved’. The rose she wears on her breast is associated with love. It may also refer to Manon’s mother, who was called Rosa.

Several other portraits by Nattier resemble this one. Repetition allowed him to produce portraits quickly and cheaply.

Key facts
Artist Jean-Marc Nattier
Artist dates 1685 - 1766
Full title Manon Balletti
Date made 1757
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54 x 47.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by Emilie Yznaga, 1945
Inventory number NG5586
Location in Gallery Gallery A: Paintings after 1600
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo