Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville at the Art Institute of Chicago



The Art Institute of Chicago owns five works by French 18th-century portraitist Maurice-Quentin de La Tour, including a self-portrait. Of the remaining pieces, two are of a married couple—Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville and his wife, Anne-Jeanne (née Boucon).

Jean-Joseph (above) was a French baroque violinist, composer, and conductor, who is recognized as one of the more exceptional figures from the period.

De La Tour captured Jean-Joseph in pastel some time around 1746. Seated and holding his instrument, he stares directly at the viewer, perhaps gazing past.

Anne-Jeanne is similarly drawn, again, in pastel. Seated and resting her left elbow on a harpsichord, she also stares at us, yet hers is not so piercing.

De La Tour drew her years after her husband, c. 1752.

Appropriately, husband and wife are displayed side-by-side at the Institute, with Jean-Joseph placed on the right, thereby allowing the couple to physically face each other.

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