Antoine Rivalz was the son and student of Jean-Pierre Rivalz. He went to Paris and produced some portraits there, but having had some fairly serious disputes, he had to return to Toulouse. From there he went to Rome, where he remained from 1688 to 1700, associating mainly with Carlo Maratti. Having won the prize at the open competition that was held every year at the Académie de St-Luc with his painting of Jupiter's Victory over the Titans, he gained the patronage of Cardinal Albani, subsequently Clement XI. On his return to Toulouse, he took his place among the foremost ranking artists of his time, was made painter of the town hall and produced many paintings. In 1726, he gained authorisation from the municipal magistrates to found a model-making school for his students, thus creating a genuine Toulouse school that was independent of Paris and was inspired by Roman Baroque. In 1750, this school was transformed into an academy of painting, sculpture and architecture. He engraved a certain number of prints. His students include his son Jean Pierre, his cousin Barthélemy, P. Subleyras, A. Crozat, J. B. Despax, G. Commas, Labarthe and Laberie.
Although he could not have been the student of Nicolas Poussin (who died in 1665), he nevertheless drew inspiration from him, borrowing his sureness of touch and purity of design. Like those of his precursor, the works of Antoine Rivalz verged on blackness, which may denote a distant echo of the Caravaggio school in his works. In the best examples of his work, his realism resembles that of Louis Le Nain.
Museum and Gallery Holdings
Dijon (Mus. Magnin): Death of Cleopatra
Narbonne: Diana and Actaeon; Death of Cleopatra
Toulouse: Foundation of the Town of Ancyra by the Tectosages; Sosthenes, King of Macedonia, Taken Prisoner by the Tectosages; Littorius Conquered by Theodoric; Raymond de St-Gilles Taking the Cross; Defeat of Henry III, King of England, before Toulouse; Huguenots Expelled from Toulouse; Pope Urban II Consecrating the Church of St Saturnin in Toulouse; St John of Capistrano; St Louis, Bishop of Toulouse; Saint of the Order of St Francis; Man Pounding a Mortar or the Apothecary of the Cordeliers; Annunciation; Portrait of Antoine Rivalz, Painted by Himself; Portrait of Jean-Pierre Rivalz; Ajax, Dragged from the Temple; Cassandra, Daughter of Priam and Hecuba; The Megarians, Seeing Their Town About to Fall to the Romans, Set Lions upon Their Enemies - But These Animals Turn back on Them and Devour Them; Angelica and Medora; Portrait of Lafaille, the Annalist