Robert de Cotte
After Hyacinthe Rigaud's painting
Engraving. Inscription in pencil. 374 x 285 mm
Inventory number: E310
Works, relating to this work: Hyacinthe Rigaud, Robert de Cotte, 1713, oil on canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris, Inv.no. MI 232Enlarge photo
Robert de Cotte (1656-1735) was one of the principal figures at the time when strict baroque was transformed into the lighter rococo in France. There can be no doubt that the man portrayed is an architect – he has an architectural drawing and a ruler lying on his table. In addition, Cotte is wearing the French Order of Saint Michael, which betokens both a high rank and outstanding loyalty to the King. He became the director of the Manufacture des Gobelines in 1699, where both the tapestries and royal furniture were produced. However, after being appointed Premier architecte du Roi in 1708, de Cotte was more concerned with the decorations for the Royal Chapel and then also the Palace at Versailles. And in Cotte’s 1729 design for the Queen’s bedroom in Versailles, we find numerous C- and S-shaped details in the decorations. These so-called rocailles became the most frequently used ornament of the rococo period; the word rococo is of course itself derived from rocaille. Altogether, Cotte left an extensive production in architecture as well as in decorations. No fewer than eight volumes of his original drawings of room arrangements, furniture, tapestries and jewellery are to be found in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.