TAUNAY, Nicolas Antoine
(b. 1755, Paris, d. 1830, Paris)
French painter, illustrator, teacher. He began his studies in painting in Paris, in 1768, in the studios of François Bernard Lépicié, Nicolas Guy Brenet and Francisco Casanova. At the age of 17, he dedicated himself to landscape painting. From 1777 onwards, he exhibited at the event known as 'Jeunesse' and at the Salon de la Correspondance, both of which were non-official. In 1784, he was accepted as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. This title allowed him to participate in official events, and also led to the award of a three-year pension at the Academy of the Palazzo Mancini, in Rome.
In Italy, he made contact with the painter Jacques-Louis David, who at the time was painting The Oath of the Horatii. Returning to France in 1787, he exhibited in the Parisian Salons. In 1793, with the turbulent environment and the extinction of the institutions of the monarchy due to the French Revolution, he withdrew from Paris, returning in 1796 to join the recently created Institut de France. In 1805, he portrayed the campaigns of Napoleon in Germany.
With the end of the Napoleonic empire, he went to Brazil as a member of the Missao Artística Francesa [French Artistic Mission], arriving in Rio de Janeiro in 1816 and becoming a pensioner of the King, Dom Joao VI (1767-1826) and a member of the Escola Real de Ciencias, Artes e Ofícios [Royal School of Sciences, Arts and Crafts], the future Academia Imperial de Belas Artes - Aiba [Imperial Academy of Fine Arts], where he occupied the chair of landscape painting. In 1821, after disagreements arising from the appointment of Henrique José da Silva (1772-1834) as director of the school, he returned to France.
Despite his short stay in Brazil (1816-1821), his output of paintings with Brazilian themes is extremely important for the history of Brazilian art during the 19th century, principally with regard to the development of landscape painting.