In my search for interesting pastels to share with you, I came across this one by Jean-Baptiste Perronneau (1715–1783), an artist I had not encountered before. Less successful than his older contemporary, Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, Perronneau led a rather wandering life not only through France but also in Italy, Amsterdam (where he died) and even St Petersburg, Russia.
Take a look at this exquisite portrait by Perronneau:
Perronneau reveals a man comfortable in his upper middle class status of a merchant family. The 32-year old Olivier, wears lace and a corsage of roses, beautifully rendered by Perronneau.
Look at the way Perronneau paints the cloth of the jacket in such an efficient way – you can see the pastel strokes used. From the way it is represented, the jacket seems made of a soft material that has a sheen to it.
How wonderful is his subtle depiction of Olivier’s face, for instance the many colours used in the same value on the shadow side of the face; the fleshiness of the mouth – slightly pursed – and surrounding area; the green-tinged chin and jaw, revealing (along with the dark eyebrows) the youth of the man regardless of the fashionable powdered hair; those slightly droopy blue eyes that seem to look down and to the left (his right) giving us the impression that he is in his own world, his own thoughts.
To read more about this portrait, go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.
What are your ideas about this sensitive pastel portrait? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for reading,