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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Greuze, Jean-Baptiste


The Spoiled Child
1765
oil on canvas
66.5 x 56 cm
Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia
http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805) was a French genre and portrait painter who initiated a mid-18th-century vogue for sentimental and moralizing anecdotes in paintings.
He had a great success at the 1755 Salon and went on to win enormous popularity with similar sentimental and melodramatic genre scenes. His work was praised by Diderot as 'morality in paint', and as representing the highest ideal of painting in his day. Much of Greuze's later work consisted of titillating pictures of young girls, which contain thinly veiled sexual allusions under their surface appearance of mawkish innocence.

With the swing of taste towards Neoclassicism his work went out of fashion and he sank into obscurity at the Revolution in 1789. The reaction against his sentimental genre paintings resulted in critical neglect of his drawings and portraits, in which Greuze’s superb technical gifts are displayed with great integrity. At the very end of his career he received a commission to paint a portrait of Napoleon (Versailles, 1804-05), but he died in poverty.
http://www.imaginarymuseum.net/view/flipcard