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Michel François Dandré-Bardon

1700 Aix-en-Provence – 1783 Paris

Michel François Dandré-Bardon led a varied and interesting life. A native of Aix-en-Provence, the artist not only enjoyed considerable success as a painter, but was also active as a writer, poet and composer. In Paris he studied under Jean-Baptiste van Loo and Jean François de Troy before leaving his native land in 1725 to stay in Rome for six years. After his return to Paris he became a member of the Academy in 1735 and won recognition in the following years by exhibiting his religious and mythological paintings at the Salon. Relatively few of his artworks have survived and so our knowledge of his œuvre is very limited. The number of public offices he held during his life confirms his renown and reflects the diversity of his interests. Dandré-Bardon was a member of the Académie des Belles Lettres in Marseilles, where he also founded and headed the École Académique. Back in Paris in 1755 he was appointed Professor of History and Geography at the École des Élèves Protégés. In this capacity he devoted himself mainly to the ethnological study of costumes and customs in order to help his pupils achieve authenticity in painting historical themes. Dandré-Bardon’s literary activity as an author of works on the theory and history of art is very significant and in the course of time increasingly overshadowed his artistic activities.