TROY, François de
(b. 1645, Toulouse, d. 1730, Paris)


French painter, part of a family of painters. Antoine de Troy (1608-1684) was a painter of modest renown in the Languedoc region. His elder son Jean de Troy (1638-1691) established an academy of art in Montpellier. He was long known only as an academic history painter, but 20th-century research has identified several fine portraits by him on the basis of style, of which the most remarkable is that of Jeanne de Juliard, Dame de Mondonville (c. 1675–80; private collection). Antoine's younger son François de Troy became a fashionable portrait painter in Paris, with a style of portraiture based on Flemish and Dutch models that included van Dyck and Rembrandt. The son of François, Jean-François de Troy, made his name as a painter of portraits, history subjects and tapestry designs, but he is known chiefly for his Rococo 'tableaux de modes', representing fashionable life and amorous encounters.

François de Troy was taught the rudiments of painting by his father, and probably also by the more accomplished regional painter Antoine Durand. Some time after 1662 he moved to Paris to study with the portrait painter Claude Lefebvre and with Nicolas-Pierre Loir, whose sister-in-law, Jeanne Cotelle, he married in 1669. Two years later he was approved (agréé) by the Académie Royale and in 1674 was received (reçu) as a history painter with a morceau de réception that depicted Mercury and Argus (Paris, Ecole Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-Arts). His known works of this period include tapestry designs for Mme de Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV, and several unexceptional religious and mythological paintings (e.g. Susanna and the Elders and Lot and his Daughters, both St Petersburg, Hermitage).

Early in his career he became friendly with Roger de Piles, who first introduced him to Dutch and Flemish painting. After Lefebvre's death in 1675 de Troy dedicated himself to portraiture in the hope of attracting the same clientele as his late teacher. In 1679 he received his first important commission, for a portrait of the Swedish ambassador Nils Bielke, and a year later was commissioned for the portrait of Anne-Marie of Bavaria, the bride of the Grand Dauphin. Following these successes, his clients included Mme de Montespan and her descendants, especially her son by Louis XIV, Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine, and his wife (e.g. Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon, Duchesse du Maine; 1694; Sceaux, Château, Musée de l'Ile-de-France). Henceforward de Troy worked continuously in court circles for nearly five decades and was highly praised for his ability to capture the nobility's preoccupation with manners, sartorial modes and social position.

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