Antoine Pesne was born in Paris on May 29, 1683. Pesne began training as an artist under his father and his uncle Charles de la Fosse. Later he attended the "Académie Royale", where he received a scholarship, taking him to Italy for studies from 1705 to 1710. A portrait Pesne painted of the Prussian envoy in Venice attracted the interest of Friedrich I, who called Antoine Pesne to Berlin in 1710 and appointed him as his court painter one year later.
Antoine Pesne went on study trips to Dessau, Dresden, London, Paris and other places. In 1720 he became a member of the academy in Paris. Antoine Pesne was highly respected for his portraits of the royal family. In 1722 Antoine Pesne became the principal of the Berlin art academy. During that time, he also painted portraits of Friedrich II and Julie von Voß.
In subsequent years, through Friedrich the Great, Pesne was commissioned for allegorical-mythological murals, ceiling paintings and for genre-like scenes in castles in Rheinsberg, Charlottenburg, Sanssouci and the city palace in Potsdam. His fame was, however, based on the portraits he painted of the Prussian sovereign family, which are marked by a mixture of late-baroque representational style and the graceful and sensitive expression of Rococo.
Antoine Pesne died on July 5, 1757 in Berlin.