The portrait historié experienced an unprecedented heyday in France during the late 17th and the first half of the 18th centuries.In these portraits, members of the upper nobility and the affluent middle-class had themselves staged and depicted in mythological or historical costumes. What interests were these patrons pursuing? Why did artists such as Nicolas de Largillierre, François de Troy and Jean-Marc Nattier turn to this type of image? To what degree did the works make reference to the architectural spaces for which they were made, and what was their relationship to the cultural practices of the times, for instance, masquerades, theater, and gallant poetry?
This book offers a basic investigation into this previously unexplored image type. In addition to art theory and texts on art criticism, the author makes use of historical inventories, letters, descriptions of palaces and festivities, poetry and theater librettos, but she focuses primarily on the works of art themselves as expressions of court portrait culture.