RESTOU, French family of painters

Marguérin Restout (active 1624) was a painter in Caen. Marguérin's son Marc-Antoine Restout (1616-1684) was a pupil of Noel Jouvenet (d. 1698) and a friend of Nicolas Poussin, with whom he apparently visited Rome in 1642. He established a reputation in both Rome and the northern Netherlands, as well as in his native Caen. Several of his ten children became artists: Jacques Restout (?1653-before 1702), a pupil of Pierre Le Tellier, became a painter, etcher, writer and abbot of the Premonstratensian abbey of Moncel, near Vitry; Eustache Restout (1655-1743), prior of the Premonstratensian abbey of Mondaye, trained under Jean Jouvenet and executed some fine decorative ceiling paintings as well as practising as an architect and sculptor; Jean Restout I (1663-1702) married Jouvenet's sister Marie-Madeleine Jouvenet (1655-1698), herself a painter, and acquired a reputation for history painting; Pierre Restout (b. 1666) was also a painter and monk; Charles Restout (b. 1668) was a Benedictine monk at Saint-Denis who painted church ceilings and altarpieces; and Thomas Restout (1671-1754) visited Rome and the Netherlands to study his art before establishing himself as a portrait painter.

Jean Restout I's son Jean Restout II studied with his uncle Jean Jouvenet and became the most famous member of the dynasty, with an impressively active and successful career. He specialized in serious historical subjects, especially sombre and large-scale religious scenes, which seem out of place in a period renowned for its rather more amorous Rococo art and fêtes galantes, although they demonstrate the continuity of the tradition of monumental figure painting throughout the 18th century. His son Jean-Bernard Restout is best known for his portraits.