Portrait of Don Giacomo
(Jean-Baptiste Perroneau)


This pastel, executed just eight years after Perroneau began his career, was the first important commission the young artist received after establishing his studio in Paris. The sitter, representative of a great Neapolitan family, was the Ambassador of King Charles VII of the Two Sicilies (later Charles III of Spain) to the Court of France from July 1741?May 1753. He wears the red, ribbon and star of the Illustrious Order of Saint Januarius, to which he had been appointed on 6th September 1740, and the blue ribbon and star of the French Royal Order of Saint?Esprit, to which he was appointed on 1st January 1747.

The mixture of contrasting velvet and silks, lace and brocade, silver and gold provided the artist with a splendid opportunity to exercise his considerable technical skills. In portraying this rather solemn and dignified nobleman, Perroneau has adopted the very direct approach which characterises all his portraits and which differentiates him from such contemporaries as Nattier and Drouais. That the sitter, with such strong court connections, should choose an artist whose normal clientele was drawn from the haute?bourgeoisie or petit?noblesse is not easily explained, but clearly he was pleased with his portrait which he brought back to Naples, and it remained in the family until the 1950s. The pastel is in its original frame and is accompanied by Perroneau’s signed receipt of payment.

59.5 x 50 cm.
pastel on paper laid on to canvas

Princess of Ardore;
By descent to Duchessa Donna Guilia Milano-Fran o d’Aragona, wife of Duke Giovanni Riario Sforza (d. 9th January 1870);
Duke Nicola Riario Sforza, Prince of Ardore;
General Duke Giovanni Battista Riario Sforza, Prince of Ardore (d. 1965);
Private Collection, Switzerland.

Historical Period
Rococo - 1720-1780
Price band
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