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Jean-Louis Voille was born in Paris in 1744; he was a student of François
Hubert Drouais. From early 1770s Voille worked in Russia, approximately
in 1780 he became the court painter of the heir to the throne, Grand Duke
Pavel Petrovich (future Emperor Paul I). In the middle of the 1790s he
returned to France: Catherine II offered all Frenchmen in Russia to renounce
the French Revolution, and Voille refused to sign the oath of allegiance
and left for Paris. He came back to St. Petersburg after Napoleon I usurped
power and the French Republic started to become an Empire.
His portraits reveal soft delicacy and tact; strong passions do not
disturb their peace of mind, it seems the painter does not see the dark
sides in the characters of his sitters.