French, 18th century, male.
Born 18 June 1716, in Montpellier; died 27 March 1809, in Paris.
Painter, decorative designer, engraver (etching). Religious subjects, allegorical subjects, mythological subjects, portraits.
Joseph-Marie Vien the Elder first studied under Giral in Montpellier, then with Natoire and Parrocel at the École de l'Académie Royale in Paris, at the same time earning his living by working for an art dealer. He won the Prix de Rome in 1742 and was sent to the Académie in Rome the following year. He stayed there for five years, not only pursuing his academic studies and making copies of old masters, but also painting numerous pictures for churches and designing costumes and triumphal chariots for masquerades. An indefatigable worker, he earned enough by his varied activities to supplement the royal bursary and did not return to France until 1750, staying briefly in Marseilles and Tarascon. Once back in Paris, however, he represented a very different concept of art from that currently dominant at the Académie de Peinture et de Sculpture. He reacted against the affected imitators of Pietro da Cortona, Francesco Albano and the decadent artists of Bologna, and proposed a return to serious study of classical and Renaissance masters. His artistic choices did not recommend him to academicians, and it has only after vigorous intervention by François Boucher that he was admitted to the Académie on 30 March 1754, on presentation of his ...