L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, April 28, 2017

L'Homme en violet - portraits of the comte d'Angiviller

By Jean-Baptiste Greuze, circa 1763.

Charles-Claude Flahaut de la Billaderie, comte d'Angiviller ( Altona), director of the Bâtiments du roi under Louis XVI.  Having had a successful military career during the reign of Louis XV, rising to the rank of Field Marshal, he also later found himself in charge of the household of the dauphin’s sons. During his tenure he developed a close relationship with the young duc de Berry, the future Louis XVI who, after his accession in 1774, appointed d'Angiviller directeur général des Bâtiments, Arts, Jardins et Manufactures de France, a position perhaps best described as a kind of general and powerful minister of fine arts. As a personal friend of the king, he had great resources at his disposal - at least at the beginning of the reign, before the economic situation in France became so desperate - and throughout his career he displayed impressive energy and discernment. He was a great supporter of the Neoclassical movement, approved countless important artistic commissions, and it had been one of his most ambitious project to transform the Grand Galerie of the Louvre into Europe's most important art museum; the Revolution intervened, and the revolutionary government would assume all the credit when the Musée du Louvre opened in 1793. Two years before, though, falsely accused of squandering public funds - perhaps more damning would be his aristocratic title and his friendship with the king - he had fled France. He died in Germany at the age of seventy-nine.

Three details of the above.
Miniature by Jean-Baptiste Weyler, 1779.
 Another version of the miniature by Jean-Baptiste Weyler, set in a box by François Delanoy, 1779.
By Joseph-Siffred Duplessis, circa 1779.
The same.
A sketch for the portrait by Duplessis.
Another version of the portrait by Duplessis.


  1. I love the fur trim on the violet coat in the top painting. I wonder if it was a full fur lining?

  2. I keep coming back to look at the details of his clothing by the artist. So beautiful.

  3. I forgot to ask./ Where are all; these gorgeous portraits you show reside now? Is the comte in the Louvre?

    1. So glad you enjoy this post so much, Andee. The Greuze is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Duplessis appears to be at Versailles; I don't know where the other version of the Duplessis resides. (By the way, looking to answer your question, I found that there's at least one more version of the Duplessis portrait - taking us to three - and at least one more oil sketch for the portrait!) The miniature by Weyler - with the strange little "drape" - is in the collection of the Louvre. The snuffbox appears to have been for sale recently; I don't know whether it has sold or where it might have ended up.