Florent de La Mare Richart (1630-1718)
Portrait of the sculptor Jean-Jacques Clérion (1637-1714)
Oil on canvas
If we refer to the clay modello that the sculptor represented in this very beautiful painting is in the process of executing, it could be Jean-Jacques Clérion. Indeed, the sculpture closest to this very Versailles composition is the Juno on sheath that the artist made in the 1680s for the park of the castle. Although reversed and not yet adorned with its attributes (scepter and diadem), the identified sculpture was made on the drawings of Pierre Mignard; successor of Le Brun at the head of the direction of the decorations of the castle and the gardens.
Compared to the two portraits of Noël Coypel and Antoine Paillet commissioned in 1676 and 1677 from La Mare Richart for his reception at the Academy, this portrait of Clérion presents the same character traits, an open and intelligent face with a small mustache above the lips, a keen look turned towards an admirer not present on the painting to which he shows his statue. His clothing is simple: a black cape with tassels, a white flap under lace in front of his neck, and a bright white sleeve that comes out of his cape. He does not need to speak to praise his statue, but his smiling expression shows that it has been appreciated by his visitor and that he will be able to draw well-deserved glory from it.
this very lively painting does not have the usual dimensions of commissions made by the Academy for portraits of painters or sculptors. It therefore corresponds to a private commission perhaps made for the invisible amateur towards whom Clairon turns. this amateur merges with all those who will admire this beautiful painting.