Laurent Amiot

"With Amiot, working in silver was no longer considered a craft but an art..." - René Villeneuve, 1988

Through his work as a gold and silversmith, Laurent Amiot was instrumental in redefining a new aesthetic for this medium in Lower Canada in the first half of the 19th century.

Laurent Amiot probably began his apprenticeship around 1780 at the age of sixteen in the silversmith shop of his older brother Jean-Nicolas. In 1782, he traveled to Paris where he spent five years completing his artistic training. He returned to Quebec in the spring of 1787 with a letter of recommendation praising his talents.

Familiar with the most recent technical innovations in Paris, Amiot promoted the fashionable Louis XVI style. As a silversmith he was very conscious of his standing as a creative artist. He promoted the medium to such an extent that silversmiths became known as artists and not craftsman.

Amiot, like the master silversmiths in Paris who worked within the best academic tradition, was one of the few Quebec silversmiths who kept drawings of his work. These drawings illustrate the artist's method of creation.

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