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This book provides a reassessment of the work of the eighteenth-century French painter, Jean-Baptiste Greuze, and reconstructs the wider movement in French painting of which he was the leading figure. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, from literature and philosophy to political economy and medical discourse, it offers new interpretations of Greuze's work that help to account for the extraordinary popularity and high reputation that he enjoyed in his own lifetime. It shows that the scenes of family life that he exhibited in the Paris Salon between 1755 and 1769 exemplified and promoted an enlightened social vision. It also charts the subsequent evolution of Greuze's imagery, as he shifted towards darker and more sensational scenes of family conflict, and argues that the more challenging aspects of his vision were toned down by younger artists, who appropriated the painting of sentiment to serve a more conservative agenda.Read more
- First major book on Greuze for a generation
- Reassessment of a neglected but historically important artist
- Important contribution to the social and cultural history of late eighteenth-century French art
Reviews & endorsements
'Barker's cultural approach to a reassessment of Greuze has effectively recontextualised the artist's early paintings. It also provides an illuminating insight into the social, political and artistic milieu of mid-eighteenth-century French life, in which these paintings were made and admired.' The Art BookSee more reviews
'Emma Barker's book … adds a great deal … [she] offers rich and complex readings of the artist's most familiar paintings. … Barker adds layers of nuance and detail to the easy associations often claimed for Greuze's art and 'enlightened' values … deeply researched …' The Burlington Magazine
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- Date Published: April 2005
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9780521555081
- length: 348 pages
- dimensions: 197 x 252 x 28 mm
- weight: 1.025kg
- contains: 90 b/w illus. 8 colour illus.
- availability: Unavailable - out of print May 2010
Table of Contents
Part I. Greuze and the Salon 1755–1769:
1. Picturing peasants: Un Père de famille qui lit la Bible
2. Art and enlightenment: L'Accordée de village
3. The image of authority: La Piété filiale:
4. Representing domesticity: La Mère bien-aimée
Part II. Greuze and his Contemporaries c. 1770-1785:
5. Fragonard's family scenes: L'Heureuse fécondité
6. The painting of family life: L'Heureux ménage
7. Social hierarchy in sentimental painting: Le Trait de bienfaisance
8. Domestic conflict in sentimental painting: Le Cri de la nature
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