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Nicolas de Largillierre, Portrait of a Man (Jean-Baptiste Rousseau?)

Key facts
Full title Portrait of a Man (Jean-Baptiste Rousseau?)
Artist Nicolas de Largillierre
Artist dates 1656 - 1746
Date made probably 1710
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 91.4 × 71.1 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Emilie Yznaga, 1945
Inventory number NG5585
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
Portrait of a Man (Jean-Baptiste Rousseau?)
Nicolas de Largillierre

An opulently dressed man with glossy clean-shaven skin and clear blue eyes gazes directly at us with a slight smile on his lips. He wears a rose-gold coloured jacket with exotic gold tassels, covered with a gorgeous teal silk-velvet cloak lined with embroidered gold silk damask. His soft velvet cap matches his cloak and is decorated with a spray of black herons’ feathers in a gold setting, from which dangles a huge pear-shaped baroque pearl. It is likely that this costume belonged to Largillierre, as both the clothes and jewel appear in portraits by him of other people.

The man has been previously identified as the painter Jean-Baptiste Forest (1613–1712) and as the poet Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (1671–1741), but the evidence does not entirely support either suggestion. There is an almost identical portrait by Largillierre in the Uffizi, Florence, which is dated 1710 on the back.

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