Portrait of Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo
by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard
This person is associated with: Rococo
French rococo painter, younger brother of Louis-Michel and François, third son of Jean-Baptiste, with whom he trained.
Born in Turin while his father worked for the Piedmontese court, he left again to Italy in 1727 after his elder brother Louis-Michel and uncle Carle had won the Prix de Rome of 1723 and 1724.
After his come back to France in 1732, he ran for the Prix de Rome of 1737, but his Samson and Delilah lost against Fournier. He however won the prize the following year with Saul and the Witch of Endor (against Challe), and left to Italy for the third time. He was admitted in the academy four years after his return, on 30 December 1747; his reception piece was St Andrew.
Then, following the examples of his father, who went to England, and his elder brother Louis-Michel, who worked at the Spanish court, Charles-Amédée moved to Berlin at the request of King Frederic II of Prussia in 1748 - meeting there Antoine Pesne, another expatriated French painter. Initially, the king had summoned his uncle Carle, but as he was too busy to leave Paris, Amédée replaced him.
In Berlin, Amédée decorated the multiple palaces built by Frederick II to imitate the splendour of Versailles. He notably made a gigantic ceiling for the Stadtschloss in Potsdam, called The Elevation of the Great Elector into Olympus, unfortunately destroyed during World War II.
He moved back to France in 1758 because of the Seven Years War
(1756-1763), which opposed - among others - France and Prussia, but he returned to
Berlin as soon as the peace was concluded. While in Paris, he was appointed adjunct
professor on 5 July 1760.
He produced his masterpiece during his second stay in Berlin: the colossal Induction of Ganymede in Olympus, the largest painting ever made in northern Europe (second only to the ceiling of San Pantaleon by Fumiani) with flabbergasting dimensions of 22.6 on 12.5 meters! He also started there to make works illustrating the scientific discoveries of the time, such as experiences on electricity.
After a life of travels, he finally settled permanently in Paris in 1769 and regularly exhibited in the Salon, although his works looked a bit outdated by the rise of Neoclassicism. He was still promoted to professorship on 7 July 1770.