Along with Hyacinthe Rigaud, Nicolas de Largillière was a leading portraitist in 18th-century France. He was born in Paris but educated in Antwerp, where he was introduced to the work of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. After his return to France, Largillière became the preferred painter of the French upper classes. The sitter of this stately portrait, Nicolas Lambert de Vermont, was an advisor to King Louis XIV and a Provost of the Merchants of Paris. Clients like Lambert relied on Largillière’s impressive portraits to demonstrate and aggrandize their social standing. Grandiose displays of wealth, such as this sitter’s luscious velvet, delicate lace and voluminous wig, were common. The type of “full-bottom” wig seen here was a popular symbol of elevated status and extravagant luxury in Louis XIV’s court. Its construction could require as much as 10 heads’ worth of human hair.
- Artist Name: Nicolas de Largillière (French, 1656-1746)
- Title: Portrait of Lambert de Vermont
- Date: c. 1697
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: 57-1/2 x 44-3/4 in. (146.1 x 113.7 cm)
- Credit Line: Norton Simon Art Foundation
- Accession Number: M.1982.6.1.P
- Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation
[P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London, sold 1982 to];
Norton Simon Art Foundation.
- Paris, Salon, 1699 to 1699
- Rosenfeld, M., Largillière and the Eighteenth-Century Portrait, pp. 102-103
- Meyer, Arline, Art Bulletin,fig. 18 pp. 55-57
- Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 86
- Meunier, Etienne, Société Archéologique de Sens,2008, fig. 9 p. 164
- Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 1696 p. 436
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