INSTRUCTOR, DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS
INCORPORATING CANTILLON: FIRST MODERN ECONOMIST GETS A FACE AND A FAMILY:
There was no known image of Cantillon (168?-1730?) who is the first modern economic theorist and whose book was highly influential on the writings of Adam Smith, David Hume, and the Physiocrats, including Turgot and Condillac. In 2005, while visiting the Louvre, I saw Nicolas de Largilliere’s enormous “Family Portrait” and thought the father might be an image of Cantillon. How do you link an image to someone with no known image? Eventually, I used the image itself, known images of Cantillon’s wife and daughter, and the career of the artist to build a large amount of consistent connections. I knew I had made the case when I communicated with a curator at the Louvre and asked her if all three people had blue eyes. She wrote back “how did you know?” It turns out that blue eyes are highly prevalent in County Kerry, Ireland, where the Cantillons were from, while brown eyes are highly prevalent in Paris and much of France.
Art History Paper
Reproductions of Nicolas de Largilliere Paintings
25” X16” each
Last Updated: September 19, 2018