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German School

early 18th century

Portrait of Hyacinthe Rigaud, after Hyacinthe Rigaud. Mezzotint. 17.3 x 15.8 cm. Unrecorded.

One of the most prominent portrait painters of the Ancien Régime, Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743) also preserved his own effigy for posterity on more than one occasion. The portrait “with the turban”, painted in 1698 and now in the Musée Hyacinthe Rigaud in Perpignan, is one of the most famous of these, not least because it was reproduced in painted copies, drawings and engravings. Pierre Drevet’s splendid engraving of 1700 did much to enhance the painting’s reputation. The present mezzotint engraving shows a detail of this portrait, focussing only on the artist’s head and shoulders. The curious spelling of the name suggests a foreign author, whose area of activity might well have been Southern Germany. The cities of Nuremberg and Augsburg, in particular, were important centres of mezzotint engraving in early eighteenth century Germany. Moreover, an image of Rigaud based on the same portrait, engraved in copper by Johann Leonhard Blank and published in his Bildnisse Berühmter Künstler Buchhändler Buchdrucker Und Anderer Männer Welche Sich So Wohl In Als Auserhalb Teutschland Verdient Gemacht (Nuremberg, 1725, no. 41), has the artist’s name spelt the same way. The inscription reads: “ Hyacinth Rigud, Mahler in Paris”. A very fine, nuanced impression with wide margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in very good condition. From the Brugger collection (Lugt 4961).

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