Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Splendid and Simple

Detail from Portrait of a Lady in Turkish Fancy Dress (1790) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

It's been a long while since last we celebrated the birth date of an "old master" type of painter. So, let's take a brief opportunity to appreciate the works of Jean-Baptiste Greuze. He's not the most famous of ancien regime painters, but I like his work nearly just as much as his more famous contemporaries.

And, of course, I'm loco for rococo. ;-)

Rather than focusing on his more popular works, I've posted up some works from the local Los Angeles collections.

Detail from The Laundress (1761) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

He was born on August 21, 1725. Let's appreciate the conjunction of splendor and "simplicity" within Greuze's aesthetic vision.

After all, why would the "laundress" put on her best outfit to do some quotidian labors? What are the connotations of a lady getting dressed up in "fancy" Turkish attire? And what is the subtext of the "Roman Charity" painting in which a daughter breastfeeds her starving, imprisoned father?

Detail of Roman Charity (1767) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Hmm. . . I can't be certain, but I'm guessing that Greuze's patrons were dirty old men. ;-)

On the other hand, there's this cute little kid. . .

Detail of Young Knitter Asleep (1759) by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

And here are some vids:

The Laundress


Portrait slideshow


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