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Fantastic Figure. Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non

also known as Figure de fantaisie

Artist: Jean-Honore Fragonard
Dimensions (cm): 65.0 x 80.0
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Musee du Louvre, Paris, France

Fantastic Figure: Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non

In 1769, artist Jean-Honore Fragonard created ‘Fantastic Figure: Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non’, or as it is known in its original language, ‘Figure de Fantaisie’. This portrait is part of a fourteen piece art series entitled “Fanciful Figures”, eight of which are in the Louvre Museum in Paris, including ‘Fantastic Figure: Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non’.

The painting’s male subject, Jean-Claude Richard, was a great supporter of Jean-Honore Fragonard. Richard, more commonly known as the Abbe de Saint-Non, was a wealthy amateur artist and engraver who befriended Fragonard and encouraged his studies at the French Academy in Rome. This painting, as with the trend of the series, displays an intensely-colored face surrounded by lustrous brushstrokes in red and gold hues that suggest a sense of royalty and hierarchy. Richard’s body is facing slightly left while his head is turned to the right and somewhat upwards, depicting a position of power and wealth. The subject is firmly grasping his robes, which appear to be wind-blown, while his lawyer’s wig lies on the ledge of the desk he sits at. Fragonard was triumphant in capturing his subject’s essence, as though he had been described by a poet, as was his intent.


“The image too often bestowed upon Jean-Honore Fragonard as the painter of frivolity, must not obscure the many facets of his immense talent: religious subjects, historical and mythological themes, allegories, majestic landscapes and intimate scenes also figure in his works. With a lively touch which is more suggestive than indicative, Jean-Honoré Fragonard captures the fleeting moment, the storm's whirlwind of clouds, exuberant foliage, the liveliness of a gesture, or a fabric's graceful fold.” – Musee de Grasse, France.

‘Fantastic Figure: Portrait of Abbe de Saint-Non’ by Jean-Honore Fragonard is currently located at the Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.


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