Portrait Of M. Gilbert DesVoisins, Councillor Of State In Ordinary
Medium: Oil On Canvas
Size: 101 x 80 cm
Signed: Dated: 1761 (on the letter)
A highly successful portraitist, Voiriot is less mannered than Nattier, whose portrait along with that of Pierre he painted when he was received as an Academician in 1759. Trained at the Academy of Saint Luke, he earned his admission to the Royal Academy by virtue of his talent, without having gone to the Academy schools nor having studied in Rome. He was appointed a councilor of the Academy on September 3rd, 1782. He exhibited at the Salon from 1759 until 1791, at the Academy of Saint Luke in 1752 and 1753 and the Salon de la Correspondance in 1782.
The setting of this portrait of M. DesVoisins de Lavernière, with the splendid lacquered bureau plat, the chinoiserie ink wells in ormolu mounts, the pile of papers and elegant costume all suggest a man of wealth and intellect. This illustrates very well the superb craftsmanship and a direct involvement with the subject that is characteristic of the best of French eighteenth century portraiture. Mathon wrote of Voiriot in his review of the 1763 Salon that he customarily included items relevant to the life of the sitter; so it is hardly surprising that he should have portrayed M. DesVoisins, his most prominent and consistent patron in the 1760’s, working at his papers. A review of the 1761 Salon describes this portrait as being a “faithful and exact image” and we may imagine from the sitter’s open and relaxed pose that M. DesVoisins was an engaging and intelligent friend to the artist.