Engineer, writer, theatrical producer and artist. Trained as an engineer, Carmontelle was drawing and mathematics tutor to the children of the Duc de Chevreuse and the Duc de Luynes during the mid-1750s and from 1758 a topographical engineer in service to the Comte Pons de Saint-Maurice, commander of the Orléans dragoon regiment. In 1763 he entered the service of Louse Philippe I, Duc d’Orléans as director of theatrical performances. In addition to writing and producing stage works, he was known for his pen and watercolour portraits.
- Mozart Relevance
At Paris, probably in the late fall of 1763 or early 1764, Carmontelle produced a watercolour of the Mozart family (Wolfgang, Leopold and Nannerl) ostensibly performing. At least four copies survive: Paris, Musée Carnavalet, Inv. Nr. D. 4496; York, Castle Howard; and two privately owned copies. Leopold describes the portrait in a letter of 1 April 1764 to his Salzburg landlord Hagenauer:
My children and my wife send their greetings to all. M. de Mechel, a copper-engraver, is working himself to death to engrave our portraits, which M. de Carmontelle (an amateur) has painted excellently well. Wolfgang is playing the harpsichord, I am standing behind his chair playing the violin, Nannerl is leaning on the harpsichord with one arm, while in the other hand she is holding music as if she were singing.
The Carmontelle portrait of the Mozart family, in a version engraved by Christian von Mechel (possibly under the direction of Jean Charles Delafosse), was the most widely disseminated portrait of Mozart prior to the late 1770s.
- Artist, architect, set designer, dramatist, author
- Date 1
- 1717, Paris
- Date 2
- 1806, Paris
- Date (Mozart)
- 1763 - late 1770s
- Location (Mozart)
- Bibliographic Reference
- Gruyer, 1902