Jean Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) was one of the most accomplished, idiosyncratic and witty artists of 18th-century Europe. Born in Geneva, he pursued a remarkable career, travelling across the continent and the Near East, portraying a riveting cross-section of society. Liotard worked in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Venice, Constantinople and Vienna and excelled as a specialist in the delicate art of pastel. He became renowned for the uncanny realism of his portraits as well as the beauty of his drawings, while also experimenting with watercolour, oil painting, printmaking and enamels. In Britain he enjoyed notoriety because of his exotic persona, and received commissions from royalty, aristocrats, grand tourists and celebrities.
LIOTARD: A Portrait of Eighteenth-Century Europe plots the career and practice and reputation of an extraordinary artist who deserves to be better known. This new study throws light on the wider cultural environment he navigated, illuminating connected themes, including fashion history, orientalism and the promotion and display of portraits in the public and private spheres of Enlightenment Europe.