REGNAULT, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1754, Paris, d. 1829, Paris)


French painter. His first teacher was the history painter Jean Bardin, who took him to Rome in 1768. Back in Paris in 1772, he transferred to the studio of Nicolas-Bernard Lépicié. In 1776 he won the Prix de Rome with Alexander and Diogenes (Paris, Ecole National Supérieur) and returned to Rome, where he was to spend the next four years at the Académie de France in the company of Jacques-Louis David and Jean-François-Pierre Peyron. While witnessing at first hand Peyron's development of a manner indebted to Poussin and David's conversion to Caravaggesque realism, Regnault inclined first towards a Late Baroque mode in a Baptism of Christ (untraced; recorded in two sketches and an etching), then, in Perseus Washing his Hands (1779; Louisville, Speed Art Museum), to the static Neoclassicism of Anton Raphael Mengs. Until 1787 he would sign his pictures Renaud de Rome, to disassociate himself from the mannered taste of French painting before the time of David.

His majestic work, The Genius of France between Liberty and Death (1795, Kunsthalle, Hamburg) is considered his materpiece.

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