Daniel Saint (1778-1847) France
Portrait of a French Gentleman
large portait miniature on ivory
panel dimensions 27 x 21.4 cm
An impressive restoration by Alan Derbyshire 2021-2023.
Still cracks between the ivory parts, there are some retouching, mostly in the background. Beautiful piece.
A Swedish private collection
Daniel Saint was a prominent French miniaturist who lived between 1778 and 1847. Born in Paris, Saint was the son of a jeweler and initially began his career as an apprentice in his father's workshop. However, he soon discovered his passion for painting and turned his attention to miniatures, which were highly popular in 18th and 19th-century Europe.
Saint was a highly skilled artist and quickly gained a reputation for his miniature portraits, which were characterized by their delicate detail and fine brushwork. His works often featured prominent figures from French society, including members of the royal family and high-ranking officials. He also painted portraits of wealthy patrons, many of whom commissioned him to create highly personalized works.
Saint's style was highly influenced by the neoclassical movement, which emphasized clarity, simplicity, and rationality. He often used a limited color palette, focusing on soft pastels and muted tones, which helped to accentuate the delicate features of his subjects. His compositions were typically centered around the face, with little background or context to distract from the subject.
Despite his success as a miniaturist, Saint was not immune to the changing tastes of the art world. In the mid-19th century, photography began to gain popularity, and many artists who specialized in portraiture found themselves struggling to compete with the speed and accuracy of this new medium. However, Saint continued to work and develop his craft, adapting his style to the changing tastes of his clients and experimenting with new techniques and materials.
In addition to his work as a miniaturist, Saint was also a skilled draftsman and created a number of highly detailed and intricate drawings and sketches. He was also known for his use of unconventional materials, such as hair, which he would incorporate into his miniature portraits to add texture and depth.
Today, Saint's works are highly prized by collectors and are held in museums and private collections around the world. His legacy as a master of miniature portraiture lives on, and his influence can still be seen in the work of contemporary artists who specialize in this unique and challenging medium.