Nattier was born in Paris, France, on March 17, 1685. He was the second son of Marc Nattier, a portrait painter and a member of the Royal Academy of France, and of Marie Courtois, a miniature painter. When his mother was only twenty-two years of age, she became paralyzed and was an invalid for the remainder of her life. Jean-Marc Nattier's had a brother, Jean Baptiste. He was the godchild of the history painter Jean Jouvenet.