Jean-Baptiste GREUZE (1725-1805) ~ Female Portrait ✿

Jean-Baptiste Greuze was a french painter. He ranks among the most popular Old Masters in pre-Revolutionary France. Best-loved for his moralistic genre painting and later his exceptional portrait art, towards the end of the century his style of art was superceded by Neoclassical painting and he died in poverty.

  His main ambition, however, was to gain recognition for his history painting - a quest effectively squashed by the rejection of his submission Emperor Septimius Severus Reproaching Caracalla (1769, Louvre, Paris) by the French Academy in 1769. Nevertheless, Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor of the Encyclopedie (1751-72), described Greuze as representing the "highest ideal" of French painting of the day. Certainly his everyday scenes with their high-minded moral narrative are the equal of the greatest genre paintings of the 18th century, and place him alongside the likes of Jean Chardin (1699-1779) and the Le Nain Brothers (1600-77).

His portraiture, too, combines the charm of Rococo art with some of the insight of Rembrandt. The best collections of his work are in the Louvre (Paris), the Wallace Collection (London), the Musee Fabre in Montpelier, and the Greuze Museum in Tournus. A good selection of his drawings are in the Albertina in Vienna and the British Museum.

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