Writer of one of the earliest known examples of art history by a woman author; seventeenth-century femme de lettre. Patin was born in Paris, but spent a majority of her life in Padua, Italy. She came from a family of intellectuals. Her father, Charles Patin, (1633-1693) was a physician and numismatist (whose work helped the art historian Joachim von Sandart. Her grandfather, Guy Patin (1601-1672), also practiced medicine as an eminent French physician. Most distinguished of all, her mother, Magdeleine Homanet, (1640-1682), wrote moral philosophy.