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French critic and poet . He was one of the earliest Salon critics, publishing between 1748 and 1757 his commentaries on the exhibitions of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture—often anonymously, because of harsh censorship. An abiding principle in his sometimes contradictory stance is that artists should base their work on nature rather than slavishly following Classical antiquity or the Old Masters: in this he sided with his immediate precursor, the Abbé Jean-Bernard Le Blanc, against the founder of French art criticism, Etienne La Font de Saint-Yenne. He believed that critics should develop an understanding of artists’ techniques and problems, here anticipating Denis Diderot and parting company with Le Blanc. He devoted as much attention to developing a critical methodology, often by attacking fellow critics, as to analysing works of art on exhibition; in this he was typical of his time. He particularly admired Jean-Siméon Chardin, Maurice-Quentin de Latour, Claude-Joseph Vernet and Jean-Baptiste Oudry, none of them an exponent of history painting, the genre that stood highest in the traditional academic hierarchy. He became increasingly ready to criticize adversely, but his comments on individual works tend to be banal, whether he is praising or blaming. He praised the efforts of the Direction des Bâtiments du Roi (the French government’s arts administration) to promote the visual arts through regular exhibitions and generous commissions, and he exhorted wealthy individuals similarly to provide worthwhile work for artists....

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T. P. Connor

Scottish architect and writer. He was the key propagandist for the Palladian revival in early 18th-century England (see Palladianism). First as an architectural publisher and then as an architect, he did as much as any contemporary to determine the lines of development of secular architecture for a generation....

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Angela Lohrey

German publisher, writer and art historian. After obtaining a doctorate in law from the University of Altdorf, he travelled (1756–7) to Strasbourg, the Netherlands and England, where he met well-known figures in science, art and politics. In 1758 he set off again from Nuremberg to Vienna and northern Italy. Besides his employment as a Nuremberg weighmaster and customs official from ...

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Dutch timber merchant, collector, printmaker, print publisher, draughtsman and art theorist. He was one of the most important Dutch dilettanti of the 18th century. His interest in art began at an early age, and from the age of 12 he was taught drawing by Norbert van Bloemen (...