Our Art / Alexandre François Desportes
A painter of the French royal courts, Desportes (1661–1743) was known for his opulent still lifes and hunting scenes. He gained fame in Paris for painting portraits of aristocrats and for nobility—French kings commissioned portraits of their favorite hunting dogs. Desportes would follow the royal hunt with a small notebook to make on-site sketches of game from the day's hunt, which the king would choose from to then develop into finished paintings. Desportes often combined game with a buffet of spectacular silver as they might be displayed in a dining room. These opulent still-lifes now remain as precious documents of the lost silver of Louis XIV, who ordered the melting of royal and aristocratic silver to replenish the French royal treasury which had been depleted by wars.