Friday 20 November 2015
Jean-Etienne Liotard at the Royal Academy of Arts, London
This is the first exhibition of Liotard’s work shown in London.
The exhibition comprises 6 rooms in the Sackler Wing.
Liotard was a sophisticate and prominent artist of the Enlightenment. He also travelled extensively throughout his career; there are portraits from his time in the Ottoman Empire and courts throughout Europe.
Room 1: Liotard and His Family:
This is the first room of the exhibition. It comprises a number of portraits of family members and also a self-portrait of the artist laughing ‘enigmatically’.
Room 2: The Levant:
Opposite the entrance to this room there are 2 elaborate portraits. The detail of the costumes: the elaborate pattern on the gold jacquard dress and the detail of the texture of the fur on the trim of the gentleman's coat. These details are opulent, what is more remarkable is the way that Liotard has managed to capture the texture of both materials and the realism in this portraits.
Room 3: British High Society Portraits
Room 4: Court Portraits
This was an interesting room as it comprised a number of continental portraits of royalty; notable the young Marie Antoinette in charcoal as an Austrian Archduchess before her marriage to the Dauphin of France.
All these portraits were intended for private viewing and as such Liotard demonstrates an understated grandeur and intimacy that is captivating and lends a certain charm.
Room 5: Continental Society Portraits
Room 6: Still-Life, Trompe l’oeil and Genre Scenes
It is definitely worth visiting this exhibition.
There are a considerable number of portraits in the exhibition to give an insight into Liotard and his times. It is also interesting to view and compare with other portrait exhibitions at the moment, namely Goya at the National Portrait Gallery.
They are both accomplished artists and it is interesting to compare.