MARTIN, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1659, Paris, d. 1735, Paris)


French painter, called Martin des Batailles. He trained in the studio of Laurent de La Hyre. There the Marquis de Vauban noticed his skill in making accurate drawings of plans and elevations of fortified sites and introduced him to the battle painter Adam Frans van der Meulen, who from 1664 was employed by Louis XIV, mainly to paint scenes commemorating Louis's military triumphs, many of which were used as tapestry designs. He quickly became van der Meulen's closest and chief collaborator. Indeed, the closeness of collaboration between the master and his pupils created a homogeneous style, in which the hand of the individual is difficult to determine. On van der Meulen's death (1690), Martin and Sauveur Lecomte (?1659-95) were ordered to complete the series of twelve paintings showing the King's Conquests, seven of which were still unfinished.

On Lecomte's premature death in 1695, he was replaced by another of van der Meulen's pupils, Pierre-Denis Martin (Martin le jeune; c. ?1663-1742), who is generally assumed, without evidence, to have been Jean-Baptiste Martin's nephew. By 1699 the two Martins had completed the series, and the paintings were installed at the château of Marly (destroyed). Martin had meanwhile acted as official artist on Louis XIV's campaigns in the Dauphiné (1688-89), and in the sieges of Mons (1691) and Namur (1692).

In 1710 he was commissioned by Leopold, Duke of Lorraine (reg 1698-1729), to create a series of cartoons depicting the life of his father, Charles V, nominal Duke of Lorraine; the Victories of Charles V (1711-18; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) were woven in Nancy. Later Jean-Baptiste Martin and Pierre-Denis Martin were among the 12 artists employed in the decoration of the hôtel belonging to the Duc de Bourbon, Grand Maître de la Maison du Roi, at Versailles, which was overseen by the architect Robert de Cotte. Each provided two large and two small views of royal palaces (now Versailles, Château and Mairie). Jean-Baptiste's son, also called Jean-Baptiste Martin (d after 1741), completed the Siege of Mons and the Siege of Namur (both Versailles, Château) after his father's death.

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