Jean-Etienne Liotard at The Royal Academy of Arts

We used our time over the festive period to catch up on exhibitions and cultural events in London. One of the most striking exhibitions we visited was The Royal Academy of Arts Jean-Etienne Liotard show. Liotard beautifully captured the Enlightenment period across Europe and beyond. He was a painter in high demand at the time, producing distinctive portraits for the aristocracy and royalty.

The beauty and distinctive character of his portraits come from this enlightened approach. The age of Enlightenment was of course a time of thought, reason and science. Rather than focussing on his sitter’s wealth, as was always the focus in portrait painting, Liotard depicts subjects who are inquisitive and open-minded. Many of them are dressed in Turkish clothing, showing interest in cultural crafts or are actively engaging, reading a book for example.

Liotard was a well travelled artist, taking his paints as far as the royal courts of Constantinople. His work also helped to encourage the increasing trend for Oriental art, objects and textiles.

For us, the textiles portrayed in the portraits we truly inspiring, we loved the rich velvets and jewelled detailed in the portrait below. The colour schemes of an artwork can provide you with inspiration for your own interior. If a work of art really appeals to you, try picking out its three main colours and matching details such as cushions or a rug to build a cohesive and balanced colour scheme.