While collecting images for a recent post of musician's portraits, I came across this beautiful painting. I wasn't really at all familiar with the artist, and it was just one of many that I saved. But when I was doing the usual sizing and tidying up that I always do to prepare images for inclusion in a post, I really noticed for the first time what a remarkable - quite ravishing - painting it is. Not wanting it to get "lost in the crowd", I saved it for its own post. Everything about it is first rate: the perfectly balanced composition; the careful and tender lighting; the tension in the graceful - but perfectly natural - turn of the figure; the sensitive modeling of the face and hands; the exact description of each surface and texture; the delicious, wonderfully harmonized color; the exquisite detail. From what I've seen of the artist's other work - nice enough; competent, but nothing exceptional - I would call this his masterpiece.
Guillaume Voiriot (20 November 1712, Paris - 9 December 1799, Paris), French portrait painter. Born into a family originally from Lorraine; his father was a sculptor. He traveled to Italy in 1746, studying at the French Academy in Rome. On his return, three years later, he initially joined the Académie de Saint-Luc as a pastellist, then in 1759 was accepted into the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture as a painter in oils. From that year until 1771, he regularly exhibited portraits in the Paris Salons. From 1770 he was an associate of the Academy of Arts in Rouen. After 1771, he exhibited less often, concentrating on administrative tasks while continuing to paint family members, scientists, writers, actors, and musicians. He died a few weeks after his eighty-seventh birthday.