Jean-François de Troy was one of the greatest histroy and genre painters of his generation in Europe. Baptised on 27 January 1679 in Paris, he began his studies with his father, the portrait painter François de Troy (1645-1730), whose own father was a painter as well. Jean-François’s father funded his trip to Rome instead of his achieving the Grand prix, and Jean-François stayed in Italy from 1699-1706. He was agréé and reçu in 1708, with his 'Niobe' now in Montpellier (Musée Fabre). An important member of the Académie, he was made adjoint à professeur in 1716, and professeur in 1719. He shared first prize (for a 'Bathing Diana', Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts) at the duc d’Antin’s concours of 1727, organised to encourage history painting in France, with his great rival, François Lemoyne. He provided several works for Louis XV, including the 'Déjeuner d’huîtres' (Musée Condé, Chantilly) for the King's dining room in Versailles. He provided numerous paintings for Fontainebleau (see his two works in the Wallace Collection), as well as successful tapestry designs. His Jason series for the Gobelins was woven seven times. He was a social and influential man, and in 1738 succeeded Nicolas Vleughels as Director of the French Académie in Rome. He exhibited at the Salon between 1737 and 1750. He died in Rome on 24 January 1752.
De Troy was the great rival of Lemoyne and the leading French history painter between Lemoyne and Boucher and Carle van Loo. Before his career as a history painter took off, he developed a highly original work as a genre painter with the so-called 'Tableaux de mode', a personal variant of the Fête galante with strong narrative elements and a high-degree of realism in the choice of settings and objects. From the early 1730s, his career as a history painter flourished. He produced some of the most important tapestry designs of the eighteenth-century. Through his taeching as a professor at the French Academy in Rome, he became highly influential for a younger generation.