LAGRENÉE, Louis-Jean-François
(b. 1724, Paris, d. 1805, Paris)

Biography

French painter, who as a student won the Grand Prix at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1749. Following a brief stay in Rome, he was received into the Académie in 1755 with the completion of a painting that earned him favourable comparisons to Guido Reni. From 1760 until 1762, he directed the Saint Petersburg Academy at the Russian court. Upon his return to Paris, Lagrenée became a professor at the Académie and received a range of important public commissions, excelling at medium-size and small paintings.

A virtuoso of fine craftsmanship, Lagrenée was one of three painters responsible for the transformation of French painting away from the Rococo style towards a more restrained, classicizing idiom. He deliberately rejected the exuberant, artificial aesthetic of the mid-1700s, reviving instead the previous century's taste for an elegant, polished style.