Red-legged partridge in a niche
To accept that Nicolas de Largillierre was the greatest portraitist of his era is often to overlook the fact that he worked successfully in all genres and painted many still lives in particular.
Here he draws on 17th century Flemish and Dutch painting which was a major source of inspiration, borrowing the motifs of the niche acting as frame for a still life and that of a red-legged partridge hanging by one foot.
However, he stood apart very clearly from his models. For him, light does not merely serve to emphasise different textures - the softness of feathers, the hardness of the beak, the velvety transparency of the grape, the juicy flesh of a pomegranate, the downy appearance of a peach - even if he does this consummately well. Attentive to reflections, coloured shadows and the harmony of similar things, he uses light to unify all these disparate elements.