Joseph Ducreux
French artist



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Joseph Ducreux
French artist
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Birth Date

June 26, 1735

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Joseph Ducreux is internet famous in a realm that transcends the Vine stars and Instagram influencers, he exists up in those dizzying heights of doge and that stoked baby: meme famous.

He managed to achieve this pinnacle of celebrity after being dead for two centuries. His meme-based notoriety means that Ducreux is definitely the most fun artist, living or dead, to Google. But there’s more to his 15 minutes of fame than a funny self-portrait. Dude was a bona fide millennial.

He had a day job, as one might work in a coffee shop, Ducreux was the First Painter to Queen Marie Antoinette. This day job was necessarily creatively stifling, but it did open up some excellent opportunities for Ducreux. He was tasked with painting Antoinette in a way that would seduce her future husband, Louis XVI, and later he painted said husband’s last portrait before he was ceremoniously relieved of his head by guillotine.

But Ducreux’s real passion was his “side hustle,” the exuberant selfies which brought him to the internet and across social media platforms. The renown is well due, his selfies are world class. They’re at once intimate, irreverent: he may be mid-yawn, throwing a smirk and a point like Fonzie, or brushing the haters off.

And he had his fair share of haters, probably due to the freewheeling attitude so clearly publicized in his selfies. He was thrice denied entrance to the Académie Royale because of his hostility towards the group, once called out for trying to sneak into a theatrical premier with one of his friends, accused of publishing positive reviews of himself (although the accusers were likely also haters), and he personally tried to keep Vigée Le Brun from a 3000 livres award (which he also received) out of spite because she took his job. He was frequently broke and his personality was suffered mostly for the charms of his wife and daughters, who were accomplished artists themselves.

Ducreux was as talented, busy, broke, mischievous, impolite, and as annoying as the best of Gen-X. I just hope that the rest of us don’t also die of apoplexy.



  1. Farago, Jason. June 15, 2017. “How a Love of French Art Helped Shape the American Republic.” New York Times June 16, 2017. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  2. J. Paul Getty Museum. “Joseph Ducreux.” J. Paul Getty Trust. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  3. Jeffares, Neil. “DUCREUX, Joseph Nancy 1735 – Paris 1802.” Dictionary of pastellistes before 1800: Online edition. August 4, 2017. Accessed August 24, 2017.
  4. “LOUIS XVI (déchu, en prison dont il ne sortira que pour être guillotiné) par Ducreux, 1793.” Bernard Safran: Paintings, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2017. 42day/art/art4jun/26ducreu/louis16.html
  5. Malik, Sienna Golden. December 6, 2013. “Joseph Ducreux: First Painter to the Web.” Thought Catalog, 2017. Accessed August 24, 2017. /2013/12/joseph-ducreux-first-painter-to-the-web/
  6. Tibbetts, Sabrina. “Joseph Ducreux/Archaic Rap.” Know Your Meme, 2009. Accessed August 24, 2017.