Gilles-Louis Chrétien

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Gilles-Louis Chrétien, The philosopher Louis-Claude St. Martin, Physionotrace by G.-L. Chrétien

Gilles-Louis Chrétien, a French musician, was born at Versailles in 1754. In 1787 he invented a machine called a 'physionotrace,' with which he took portraits in profile from life, which were reduced to silhouettes, usually by Fouquet, and then engraved in aquatint by himself. Many of them are of great interest on account of the celebrity of the persons represented, 'L'Incorruptible Robespierre,' Mirabeau, and Marat being among the hundreds which he produced. Edme Quénedey was at first associated with him, but Chrétien afterwards worked alone. He died in Paris in 1811.


This article incorporates text from the article "CHRETIEN, Gilles Louis" in Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers by Michael Bryan, edited by Robert Edmund Graves and Sir Walter Armstrong, an 1886–1889 publication now in the public domain.