French painter and engraver. A pupil in Paris of Jean Restout II,
in 1745 he failed to win the Prix de Rome and at his own expense went to Rome early in 1747. The following year, by which time he was a member of the circle of Paolo Anesi, Philothe-Franois Duflos, Jean-Laurent Legeay and Giovanni Battista Piranesi,
Barbault made engravings for the Varie vedute di Roma antica e moderna published in Rome. As a painter he was encouraged by Jean-Franois de Troy, director of the Acadmie de France, who commissioned from him 20 small pictures representing characters from the Turkish masquerade
organized by the pensionnaires for the carnival of 1748, of which 11 survive (Beauvais, Muse Dpartemental de l Oise; Narbonne, Muse d Art et d Histoire; Paris, Louvre; and elsewhere). When, by special favour, he became a pensionnaire at the Acadmie (1749-53), he made a copy (Lille, Muse des Beaux-Arts, destroyed) for Louis XIV of Luca Penni s fresco the Baptism of Constantine in the Vatican Stanze (it was then attributed to Raphael).
While travelling in Rome, Abel-Franois Poisson de Vandières, Marquis de Marigny, commissioned a series of Italian Costumes, of which some of the originals or replicas remain (Castres, Muse Goya; Dijon, Muse des Beaux-Arts; Orlans, Muse des Beaux-Arts; Paris, Louvre). In 1751 Barbault depicted the planned procession of the pensionnaires for the carnival in a frieze-like painting, the Masquerade of the Four Corners of the World (Besanon, Muse des Beaux-Arts et d Archologie). Many of Barbault s idealized Roman landscapes date from this period (examples Angers, Muse des Beaux-Arts; Baltimore, MD, Walters Art Gallery; Madrid, Museo Cerralbo; Notre Dame, IN, Snite Museum of Art; and elsewhere), but above all he wanted to be a painter in the grand manner, painting St Franois de Sales Placing Jeanne de Chantal under the Protection of St Vincent de Paul (Rome, SS Giovanni e Paolo) for the beatification of Ste Jeanne de Chantal in 1751. He also painted an Allegory of the Earth (untraced) in c. 1752-53 for the wife of the Austrian ambassador in Naples, Paul Esterhazy, to accompany Gabriel-Franois Doyen s Air, Charles-Franois de La Traverse s Water and Pierre-Charles Le Mettay s Fire.