Hyacinthe Rigaud was the preferred portraitist of Louis XIV and XV and made canonical contributions to the art of French absolutism and of early eighteenth-century Europe. He adapted the European portrait tradition to the specific needs of the French court, developing the “portrait d’apparat” as a showpiece of great formality and elegance. This portrait drawing, a presentation drawing squared for transfer to a larger canvas, or perhaps to the engraver’s plate, makes Rigaud’s skill apparent. The sensitively rendered face is surrounded with a myriad of compelling, detailed elements that all indicate the sitter’s elevated status, elegance, and erudition. d’Armenonville was one of thirty Councilors of State, a lucrative position, which placed him right below the rank of prince and cardinal.
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