French painter and draughtsman. In 1678 he was apprenticed to
Guy-Louis Vernansal (1648–1729); he later became a pupil of Jean
Jouvenet and in 1684–5 of Bon Boullogne. By 1684 he was enrolled at
the Académie Royale, Paris, and a year later won the Prix de Rome
with his Construction of Noah’s Ark (untraced). He probably arrived
in Rome towards the end of 1685, and he stayed until the winter of
1688–9. While in Italy he studied the work of Raphael and the
Carracci family, as well as showing an interest in Correggio. He
also led a student protest against the teaching régime of the
Académie de France in Rome. After some months in Lyon he returned to
Paris in 1689 and began to work on minor commissions, including
drawings of the statues in the park at Versailles (Paris, Bib. N.).
The influence of the Boullogne brothers is evident in his
small-scale paintings of this time, such as Mercury Killing Argus
(c. 1690–95; destr., ex-N. Mus., Warsaw), with its graceful but
stylized figures and clear, Flemish-derived colours. Two works of
the turn of the century, Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife and Susanna and
the Elders (both 1699; Amsterdam, Rijksmus.), indicate that he was
in the forefront of the contemporary movement in religious art
towards small-scale works destined for private collectors. Although
sacred, the subjects were capable of a secular interpretation, and
Bertin exploited this ambiguity to the full.
Andromache and Astyanax at the Tomb of Hector. 1777
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