Thursday, March 26, 2015

Alexis Simon Belle

Portrait of Louis XV of France
oil on canvas
226 × 18 cm
Palace of Versailles, Paris, France

Alexis Simon Belle (1674-1734), part of a French family of painters, born in Paris, was a fashionable portrait painter of the early 18th century.

In 1670 he won the Prix de Rome of the Academie Royale, but he turned down the opportunity to complete his education at the Academie de France in Rome, preferring to build up a clientele in Paris.

He became a pupil in the early 1690s of Francois de Troy, one of the painters at the exiled court of James II at St Germain-en-Laye. Troy, at the time the only painter working for James II, was commissioned to produce more portraits than he could manage and he enlisted Belle, his most able pupil, to collaborate.

He painted numerous portraits of members of the French court and associated notables, among them those of Louis XV and of his one-time fiancee Maria Anna Victoria, Infanta of Spain, as well as those of Louis's wife Marie Leczinska and her father Stanislav I Leszczynski, King of Poland.