Charles François de la Traverse
(Paris, 1726-c. 1787)
Charles de la Traverse was born in Paris in 1726 and he began his training in painting there with François Boucher. In 1748 he was awarded First Prize by the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, consequently obtaining funding for three years to study in Rome. There his technique rapidly advanced and he was considered the most promising French artist of his generation. He further went to Naples in order to see the archaeological excavations at Herculaneum. There the artist entered the service of the Marquis d’Ossun, French ambassador in Naples, whom La Traverse would follow to Madrid in 1759 following the ascent of the King of Naples to the Spanish throne as Charles III. In Madrid the artist devoted himself to teaching and to producing small-format cabinet paintings, as stated by his best pupil, Luis Paret, who must have studied with him between approximately 1767 and 1775. In 1787, seriously ill, he returned to Paris where he may have died that same year.