COCHIN, Charles-Nicolas II
(b. 1715, Paris, d. 1790, Paris)


Engraver, draughtsman and art theorist, part of a French family of artists. The engraver Nicolas Cochin (1610-after 1649) left Troyes for Paris in the 1640s; he made numerous small engravings, chiefly religious subjects and landscapes, including several for Jules, Cardinal Mazarin. His prints, signed N. Cochin, are often confused with those of his half-brother Noël Cochin (1622-after 1687). It is not clear how they were related to Charles-Nicolas Cochin I and his more celebrated son Charles-Nicolas Cochin II (1715-1790), both of whom were employed in Paris to make reproductions after the most distinguished artists of their day. In addition to his activities as an engraver, draughtsman and writer on the theory of art, Cochin II enjoyed an illustrious public career as Secrétaire Perpétuel of the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture.

Charles-Nicolas II learnt drawing in the studio of Jean Restout II and at the Académie Royale. His first important engravings were the Death of Hippolytus (1735) after Jean-François de Troy and the Firework Display in Rome in 1729 for the Birth of the Dauphin (1737) after Giovanni Paolo Panini. From 1737 he worked for the Menus Plaisirs du Roi and drew all the major court celebrations of births, marriages and funerals. At the same time he embarked on a prestigious career as an illustrator; between 1737 and 1790 he illustrated more than 200 books.