Louis Carrogis de Carmontelle was a French artist, architect, dramatist, set designer, and author. Among his best-known artworks is his watercolor Leopold Mozart (1719-87), and his two children, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-91) and Maria-Anna, known as 'Nannerl.'
He studied geometry and drawing, and a the age of 23, he would be qualified to receive the title of engineer. He soon entered under the service of the Duke of Chevreuse and the Duke of Luynes at the Chateau de Dampierre, where he also taught drawing and mathematics to the children.
In addition to duties as an engineer, Carmontelle was a creative and avid writer, creating several tales and farces, which is a kind of a play with absurd humor and situations. His writing prowess was noticed, and in 1763, he came under service of the Duke of Orleans, Philippe I, as a lecteur, responsible for developing theatrical performances for the family. In addition to writing and directing, Carmontelle also made the costumes and decorated the scenery. In this way, he would develop a new genre of a theatrical play, the proverbe dramatique, which was a scene of light comedy structured to be a starting point to theatrical improvisation. He also wrote some plays for Marie-Madeleine Guimard, the famous ballerina who dominated the stages during Louis XVI’s reign.
Louis de Carmontelle was also a prolific artist, producing several caricatures and portraits of the French nobility. One of his best-known artworks is watercolor Leopold Mozart (1719-87) and his two children, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) and Maria-Anna Mozart, known as 'Nannerl' (1751-1829). Therefore, despite his modest beginning, Louis de Carmontelle became a rather distinguished figure in French high society and nobility.
Following the death of Duke d’Orleans in 1785, Carmontelle became under service of his son Duke of Chartres, teaching drawing to his daughter Adelaide and son Louis-Phillippe of France, who would become both the next and the last king of France.
During his later years, the artist would pioneer a new form of showing paintings in motion, an ancestor to the magic lantern. The invention consisted of two wooden boxes that slowly rolled a landscape painting. The daylight passed through the canvas and gave the observant an impression of walking in nature.