Hyacinthe Rigaud without a doubt, he was one of the greatest portrait painters in Europe at the beginning of the 18th century and many of the aristocracy and the main personalities of Europe posed before his easel. the court of the Sun King, including Louis XIV himself, of whom he made a fantastic portrait.
Portrait of Jules H Mansart by Rigaud
Although, portraying the king had its constraints given the extraordinary power of his figure and his possible whims and whims. So for portraitists it could be more satisfying to make portraits of other characters, and even more so if they were artists like themselves. And in this case, Rigaud painted none other than the leading architect of the time, Jules Hardouin Mansart (1646 – 1708). A creator with a very extensive construction career, including works such as his interventions inChantilly, in theCity Hall of Lyonor in the Château de Chambord where he added a beautiful chapel. Although his main work was the greatpalace of baroque artpar excellence: Versailles
When Rigaud painted it in 1685, Mansart was already the first architect of the kingdom and the superintendent of the king's works. And that enormous power and prestige, without a doubt, is very evident in the effigy. We see him dressed in his best clothes and wearing his decorations. And by the way it is before whichit was to be one of his great works, Les Invalides de Paris, which was completed nearly two decades after this portrait was made.
And although we are not dealing with a character of the aristocracy since in reality he was a professional, great but a worker after all, the truth is that we see a character who has practically become someone very relevant in court, and he wears himself with the same exquisiteness and solemnity that other members of the nobility that surrounded the Sun King would do.
However, Rigaud has wisely combined the lavish presentation befitting a powerful man proud of his social rank, with the elements that identify him as an architect. And not only because of the presence that we have already mentioned of the dome of the Hotel des Invalides. Also because he seems to locate it in his work office. A grandiose office as reflected in the shaft of the column that we see on the right, but also a workplace, since as if it were a still life we can see some of his work tools on the table, especially books, papers and instruments. measurement, in the lower left part of the canvas.