The Le Nain Brothers
Date of Birth: 1600-07
A trio of French brothers who produced genre works, portraits and portrait miniatures. Antoine (about 1600 - 48), Louis (about 1603 - 48), Mathieu (about 1607 - 77) are best known for scenes of peasant life. The brothers were born at Laon but by 1630, all three lived in Paris, where they shared the studio founded by Antoine. He was admitted to the Paris painters' guild, enabling his two brothers to train under him without paying fees. Their devotion to painting the humble life was an unusual choice of subject for the time. They worked in collaboration and had remarkably similar styles. Coupled with the fact that they all signed their paintings only with their surname, the assigning of works to one or the other of them is fraught with difficulty and controversy. Those works that are dated, none is later than 1648, when all were still alive.