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Ranc, Jean

Montpellier (France), 1674 - Madrid (Spain), 1735

After studying with his father, painter Antoine Ranc, he moved to Paris in 1697 to complete his training with Hyacinthe Rigaud, and then continued as Rigaud's collaborator. He entered the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1703 and became an academician in portraiture there in 1707. His master's protection paved the way to a career at court and the possibility of painting various members of the French royal family, including a likeness of Louis XV (1718, Musée du Château de Versailles, Versailles). His talent for portraiture also brought him numerous commissions by aristocrats, some of which he depicted with attributes and symbols from Antiquity. Ranc also explored allegorical and mythological subjects, including a famous Vertumnus and Pomona (1720-1722, Musée Fabre, Montpellier), which was later engraved by Edelinck.
At the behest of Philip V of Spain, he traveled to madrid in 1722 to make various portraits of Spain's royal family, and also of Portuguese royalty during a stay in Lisbon between 1729 and 1730. He worked on the decoration of Madrid's Alcázar Palace, which burned down in 1734. The Museo del Prado has some of his finest works, including a sketch for The Family of Philip V, which can be dated around 1723, when the king commissioned him to paint official portraits. That family portrait—a genre rarely practiced by Spanish painters—shows the monarchs surrounded by their children in a fictitious hall, or in one of the halls at the Alcázar. Ranc also made individual likenesses of members of the royal family, including pendant paintings of Philip V and Queen Elizabeth of Farnese and an equestrian portrait of the King after the manner of triumphal battle paintings, crowned by an allegorical figure that represents Victory. Ranc maintained the Baroque conception of European equestrian portraits used by Peter Paul Rubens and Diego Velazquez. He also portrayed the future kings Ferdinand VI and Charles III after the manner of child portraits from the first half of the century, in which children are presented almost as small adults. The two half-brothers appear as infantes, richly dressed and differentiated according to their positions in the hierarchy. While the future Ferdinand VI is shown walking his dog before a garden landscape with steps and a fountain, young Charles III is presented indoors, in a sumptuous bureau. Ranc's workshop and assistants made innumerable copies and replicas of his official portraits of royal family members, but they are of lesser quality. Ranc adoped his teacher's style, but his aesthetic is less lavish and affected than Rigaud's. His precise and exact technique is often excessive, lacking spontaneity in the characterization of his sitters (Reuter, A. in Enciclopedia M.N.P., 2006, vol. V, pp. 1816-1817).

Artworks (27)

Isabel Farnesio, reina de España
Oil on canvas, First third of the XVIII century
Ranc, Jean (Attributed to)
Felipe de Borbón y Farnesio, futuro duque de Parma
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Ranc, Jean
Isabel Farnesio, reina de España
Oil on canvas, XVIII century
Ranc, Jean
The Family of Philip V
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1723
Ranc, Jean
Philip V on Horseback
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1723
Ranc, Jean
Felipe V, rey de España
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1723
Ranc, Jean
Ferdinand VI as a Boy
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1723
Ranc, Jean
Charles III as a Boy in his Study
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1724
Ranc, Jean
Portrait of Charles III as Infante
Oil on canvas, Ca. 1725
Ranc, Jean

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