Pierre Mariette

1694 - 1774

About the artist

Pierre Mariette or Pierre-Jean Mariette was born on the 7th of May in 1694 in Paris, France.
He was the son of Jean Mariette, and came from a a long-established and highly successful family of engravers, book publishers and printsellers in Paris.
Pierre himself was a collector of and dealer in old master prints, a renowned connoisseur, especially of prints and drawings, and a chronicler of the careers of French Italian and Flemish artists. He was a central figure in the artistic culture of the city for decades.

After he attended the Jesuit college in Paris, his father, Jean Mariette (1660–1742), sent him on tour in 1717, to sharpen his connoisseurship and further family connections.
First he went to Amsterdam, which was the center of the art trade, and then to Germany. In Vienna Mariette catalogued the art collection of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Everywhere the affable, curious and sociable Mariette made acquaintances and formed contacts with the scholarly and artistic community in Europe, which he maintained through correspondence.

Through his artistic connections, Mariette was named a member of the prestigious Accademia delle Arti del Disegno, Florence, in 1733. His knowledge of prints and his close friendship with Caylus and the artist Charles-Antoine Coypel secured him a position reorganizing the old master print collection of the Bibliothèque Royale. In 1741 Mariette was asked to write the sale catalogue of Crozat's collection of paintings and antiquities, the first example of the modern descriptive sale catalogue.
Mariette engraved and printed several plates, an aspect of the family business. His engravings illustrated the Cours d'architecture qui comprend les ordres de Vignole ä ceux de Michel-Ange of Augustin-Charles d'Aviler (Paris, 1760).
In 1764-65 he got into a public dispute in the pages of the Gazette littéraire de l'Europe with Giovanni Battista Piranesi, whom Mariette admired greatly as an artist.

Mariette married Angélique-Catherine Doyen in 1724. He acquired a country house at Croissy, which he named "Le Colifichet" was ennobled during the reign of Louis XV, and honored with the Order of the Saint-Esprit.
Pierre Mariette died in Paris on the tenth of September in 1774.