SANTERRE, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1651, Magny-en-Vexin, d. 1717, Paris)

Biography

French portrait painter. The 12th child of a merchant, he was apprenticed to the portrait painter Jean Lemaire (c. 1597-1659) before entering the busy studio of the history painter Bon Boullogne Although he executed some history paintings, he began to specialize in portraiture early in his career. The Portrait of Two Actresses (1699; St Petersburg, Hermitage), clearly influenced by François de Troy, shows Santerre's interest in the well-known portrait painters of his time. Nevertheless, he was among the first painters in France to absorb the influence of Rembrandt, as in Young Girl at a Window (Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts. In such portraits as Girl with a Veil (1699; St Petersburg, Hermitage) he made an original contribution to French painting by successfully combining the fantasy portrait of northern tradition with the allegorical portrait currently fashionable in France. Furthermore, he was known for his Rococo use of nude figures.

He founded a drawing academy for women at Versailles. Among his works are Susanna at the Bath (Louvre) and Adelaide d'Orléans (Versailles).