A Sheet of Studies of Hands and Arms

Nicolas de LARGILLIÈRE (Paris, 1656 - Paris, 1746)

Biography



One of the leading portrait painters in France during the latter half of the reign of Louis XIV, Nicolas de Largillière was trained in Antwerp and London, settling in Paris in 1679. He soon established a reputation as a portrait painter, and as early as 1681 had painted a portrait of the King and other members of the royal family. Largillière was accepted into the Académie Royale in 1683, and later served twice as its Director. As well as members of the royal family and the Court nobility, Largillière also painted portraits of the landed aristocracy and the haute bourgeoisie, as well as leading civil, religious and military figures. The success of his portraiture and the numerous commissions he received allowed the artist to amass a considerable fortune. From the beginning of his career many of his formal portraits were reproduced as engravings, which served to further his reputation. He also painted a handful of still lifes and some landscapes. After 1725 Largillière ceased to exhibit at the Salons, and from 1730 h worked more slowly and his output began to decline.