Sunday, October 20, 2013

Painting of the Day: A Miniature of King Louis XV of France, 1740-50

Miniautre of Enamel on Copper
John Adam Mathieu, c. 1740
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This oval portrait miniature on copper depicts Louis XV, King of France, looking quite pleased with himself, wearing armor, a purple velvet cloak and the blue sash of the Royal French Order of the Holy Spirit. The miniature is set in a gold frame which is punctuated with diamonds and golden flower-heads.

The reverse is signed “Mathieu.” John Adam Mathieu was a pupil of the important enameller Charles Boit, whose work we’ve looked at in the past. John Adam Mathieu found great success in France after traveling there from his native Sweden. He was celebrated for his oil paintings as well as his goldsmithing and enamel painting on porcelain and metal. During the period in which this miniature was created, Mathieu was given the leadership of the painting department at the Royal Porcelain Factory, Vincennes (this is the factory which later moved to Sèvres).

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