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The three Le Nain brothers were painters in France: Antoine Le Nain (c.1599-1648), Louis Le Nain (c.1593-1648), and Mathieu Le Nain (1607-1677). They were born at Laon but had all moved to Paris by 1630.
Because of the remarkable similarity of their styles of painting and the difficulty of distinguishing works by each brother (they signed their paintings only with their surname, and many may have been collaborations), they are commonly referred to as a single entity, Le Nain. Louis is usually credited with the best-known of their paintings, a series of scenes depicting peasant life. These genre paintings are often noted for being remarkably literal, yet sympathetic; the subjects are never grotesque or seem ridiculed. There remains some question, however, as to whether some of the assumed "peasants" were truly from the rural class--many seem to be simply the bourgeois at leisure in the country.
The brothers also produced miniatures and portraits. Mathieu became the official painter of Paris in 1633, and was made a chevalier.
Antoine and Louis died in 1648. Mathieu lived until 1677.
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