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[VOIRIOT, Guillaume]. - [Portrait of Joseph-Jérôme le Français de Lalande].Late 18th century (ca. 1780). Oil on canvas (88 x 68 cm). In an elegant contemporary gilt frame with pearled inner border.

Beautiful contemporary portrait of the famous French astronomer Joseph-Jérôme (le Français) de Lalande (1732-1807), depicted as a middle-aged man around 1780. The portrait can be attributed to the famous French portrait painter Guillaume Voiriot (Paris 1713-1799), who studied for a short time in Rome under Lenormant de Tournehem, Louis XV's Minister of Fine Art. In 1752 he exhibited for the first time at the Salon op the Academie de Saint Luc. In 1757, Voiriot was made an associate member of the Academie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture and in 1759 he submitted his reception pieces: portraits of the artists Jean-Marc Nattier (now in the Musée du Louvre) and Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre (Musée National du Chateau de Versaille) and was elected to full membership, which gained him the right to participate in the biennial Salons. By 1785, he had achieved the rank of "conseiller" in the Royal Academy. For thirty years Voiriot's studio was located in the Cour des Miracles on the rue Neuve-des-Petits-Champs, but during the Revolution he moved to the Quartier Saint Germain. We would like to thank Mr. Eric Turquin, the most competent specialist of 18th century French portraits, for this attribution.Lalande is dressed in typical late-18th-century French blue-green dress with a lace collar and cuffs. Lalande is depicted en face, sitting at a table with his hands resting on an astronomical engraving, and holding a pair of compasses in the one and a ruler in the other. A book on astronomy with an unfolded plate jutting out, is laying before him. Further mathematical and optical instruments, including an armillary sphere and a folded astrolabe, are placed on the table; a telescope is installed behind him.Lalande started his career as a jurist, but changed his focus completely to astronomy as soon as he had attended the first lectures of De Lisle and Le Monnier in Paris around 1750. In 1751, he stayed a year at the court of Frederic the Great in Berlin spending the nights in the observatory to make observations on the parallax of the moon, and the days studying the integral calculus in the company of Euler, Voltaire, and Maupertuis, all gathered at the court in Berlin at the time. Back in Paris, he immediately became a member of the Academy in 1753. During the next years he studied and published on the comet of Halley and on the planet Venus. In 1760, he became professor of astronomy in the Collège de France as the successor of De Lisle, holding the post for 46 years. He published many astronomical works among which his Traité d'astronomie (1764), the Histoire céleste française (1801) and the Bibliographie astronomique (1803), still in use as a reference work, are the most well-known.Among other portraits of Lalande, the painting by the famous rococo painter Fragonard (now in the Petit Palais, Paris) is the best known. It represents a youger Lalande looking left with his right arm resting on a globe.Very fine painting in excellent condition.l Nouv. biogr. gén., 27, cols. 948-53.
EUR 50000.00 Boeknummer 22078

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