Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702-1789) was one of the most accomplished and witty artists of 18th century Europe. Born in Geneva, he pursued a remarkable career, travelling across the continent and the Near East, portraying a riveting crosssection of society in pastel. Renowned for the uncanny realism of his portraits, he enjoyed notoriety because of his exotic persona, and received commissions from royalty, aristocrats, grand tourists, and celebrities. His work deserves to be better known and is the focus of a new exhibition at the National Gallery in London from November. This talk will survey his life and art, touching on themes such as orientalism and the various roles portraits played in the public and private spheres of Enlightenment Europe.
Christopher Baker is an Hon. Professor at Edinburgh University; he served for ten years as aDirector at the National Galleries of Scotland. Christopher’s new book on Liotard is to be published in the autumn.