Description Nattier was regarded as one of the foremost portrait painters at the court of Louis XV (reigned 1715-1774). He occasionally turned to miniature painting, as demonstrated by this likeness of Cassini de Thury (1714-1784), a distinguished astronomer and director of the Paris Observatory, shown seated at his desk taking a pinch of snuff from a gold box. The composition for this miniature was taken from a 1745 pastel portrait of Louis Duval de l'Épinoy by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon). Only the face has been altered. Recently both the 19th-century identification of the sitter and the attribution to Nattier have been questioned.
|4/06/1959||Loan Consideration||examined for loan|
- Age of Elegance: The Rococo and its Effects. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1959.
- Maryland Heritage: European Art at the Time of the Revolution. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1976.
Provenance Marqui de Biron; William T. Walters, Baltimore, ca. 1893, by purchase [no. 511 in Walters Catalogue of 1899]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1894, by inheritance; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Inscriptions [Signature] At left: J.M. Nattier
Credit Acquired by William T. Walters, ca. 1893
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