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date: 21 February 2020

Piles, Roger delocked

(b Clamecy, Nièvre, Oct 7, 1635; d Paris, April 5, 1709).
  • Alexandra Skliar-Piguet

Extract

(b Clamecy, Nièvre, Oct 7, 1635; d Paris, April 5, 1709).

French amateur painter, engraver, theorist, critic and diplomat. Following studies at Nevers and Auxerre, from c. 1651 he lived in Paris, studying philosophy at the Collège du Plessis, and then theology at the Sorbonne. Not being inclined to enter the Church, he became a member of the literary circles of Paris and at the same time began to study painting with Claude François. His sole extant work is an early unsigned etching (published posthumously) after Charles Le Brun’s portrait of Charles-Alphonse Du Fresnoy (Paris, Louvre). This has been associated with a group of fine portraits (untraced; known from engravings) that de Piles painted late in his career: François Tortebat (before 1682), engraved by Gérard Edelinck; Gilles Ménage (before 1692), engraved by Pierre-Louis van Schuppen; Nicolas Boileau (1704), engraved by Pierre Drevet; and a Self-portrait (1704), engraved by Bernard Picart. They demonstrate an undoubted talent for portraiture and a rare psychological insight....

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