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Miniature Portrait of César François Cassini de Thury
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Miniature Portrait of César François Cassini de Thury

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Inscription Credit
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.
Date Description Narrative
4/06/1959Loan Considerationexamined 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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ca. 1750
watercolor on ivory
Accession Number
3 1/8 x 2 11/16 in. (8 x 6.9 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


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