(b. 1718, Viarmes, d. 1762, Roma)


French painter and engraver. A pupil in Paris of Jean Restout II, in 1745 he failed to win the Prix de Rome and at his own expense went to Rome early in 1747. The following year, by which time he was a member of the circle of Paolo Anesi, Philothée-François Duflos, Jean-Laurent Legeay and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Barbault made engravings for the 'Varie vedute di Roma antica e moderna' published in Rome. As a painter he was encouraged by Jean-François de Troy, director of the Académie de France, who commissioned from him 20 small pictures representing characters from the Turkish masquerade organized by the pensionnaires for the carnival of 1748, of which 11 survive (Beauvais, Musée Départemental de l'Oise; Narbonne, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire; Paris, Louvre; and elsewhere). When, by special favour, he became a pensionnaire at the Académie (1749-53), he made a copy (Lille, Musée des Beaux-Arts, destroyed) for Louis XIV of Luca Penni's fresco the Baptism of Constantine in the Vatican Stanze (it was then attributed to Raphael).

While travelling in Rome, Abel-François Poisson de Vandières, Marquis de Marigny, commissioned a series of Italian Costumes, of which some of the originals or replicas remain (Castres, Musée Goya; Dijon, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Paris, Louvre). In 1751 Barbault depicted the planned procession of the pensionnaires for the carnival in a frieze-like painting, the Masquerade of the Four Corners of the World (Besançon, Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie). Many of Barbault's idealized Roman landscapes date from this period (examples Angers, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Baltimore, MD, Walters Art Gallery; Madrid, Museo Cerralbo; Notre Dame, IN, Snite Museum of Art; and elsewhere), but above all he wanted to be a painter in the grand manner, painting St François de Sales Placing Jeanne de Chantal under the Protection of St Vincent de Paul (Rome, SS Giovanni e Paolo) for the beatification of Ste Jeanne de Chantal in 1751. He also painted an Allegory of the Earth (untraced) in c. 1752-53 for the wife of the Austrian ambassador in Naples, Paul Esterhazy, to accompany Gabriel-François Doyen's Air, Charles-François de La Traverse's Water and Pierre-Charles Le Mettay's Fire.

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