Following the death of his father, the painter Louis-Abraham Vanloo, in 1712, Carle Vanloo moved to Turin, Italy, where his older brother, the painter Jean-Baptiste Vanloo (1684-1745), supervised his training. In 1714 the brothers relocated to Rome, where Carle studied with the painter Benedetto Luti and the sculptor Pierre Legros. By 1720 they were in Paris; Carle assisted Jean-Baptiste and studied at the Académie Royale, which awarded him first prize for drawing in 1723. The younger Vanloo won the Prix de Rome in 1724 but was not awarded official funding for his studies. Remaining in Paris, he painted society portraits and decorations for the opera. He arrived in Rome in 1728, where his work was noticed by Cardinal Melchior de Polignac, the French ambassador, who helped Vanloo secure a state pension and important church commissions, including the illusionary ceiling fresco for the Church of San Isidoro. In 1732 Vanloo left Rome with the intention of returning to France but stopped in Turin after the accidental death of his nephew en route. He stayed in Turin in the service of Charles Emmanuel III, duke of Savoy and king of Sardinia; among Vanloo’s most important works from this time are the ceiling fresco for the Palazzo Mauriziano, Stupinigi, and the decoration of a salon in the royal palace. Returning to Paris in 1734, Vanloo was agréé (accepted) into the academy the following year and obtained important commissions from the Church, including seven paintings for the choir of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (1746-1755). He was appointed governor of the École des Éleves Protégés in 1749, rector of the academy in 1754, premier Peintre du Roi in 1762, and director of the academy in 1763. Vanloo was ennobled in 1751. Among the paintings he executed for Louis XV were The Bear Hunt and The Ostrich Hunt for the petits appartements at the palace of Versailles, for which Jean-François de Troy also painted The Lion Hunt, the sketch for which is at LACMA. A versatile artist who made portraits as well as history paintings, Vanloo enjoyed enormous success throughout the continent. Grimm called him “the first painter of Europe.” Although sometimes critical of his compositions, Madame de Pompadour and the French court lavished their patronage upon the artist.
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