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From a strictly critical point of view, the delicacy and grace of Greuze's work is marred by a certain triviality and by the pursuit of mere prettiness. Possibly these very defects contribute to the charm of his paintings and explain in a large measure their enduring popularity with the public. They are delightful in colouring and in their simplicity. One looks and admires, untroubled by any problems of life or of art. A charming head is the dominant characteristic of all these pictures of young girls. There is a family likeness between all of them, and a very similar treatment. The pose varies, the features and colourings vary, but one looks for the common likeness, and for the extra touch of bright colouring (varied in its hue) furnished, for example, by a bow in the hair which challenges the eye agreeably.

It is curious that these pictures which betray the defects of his art so conspicuously should be so well known, and his stronger work be unfamiliar to the English public. The Louvre possesses the best collection of his paintings, including the famous "Severus Reproaching Caracalla," which was judged defective when he submitted it to the Academie Royale, and led him to refrain from exhibiting at the Salon for many years.

Like many another famous painter, Greuze enjoyed his period of popularity, outlived it and died in poverty; and, like theirs also, his fame revived after his death and endures as a lasting testimony to the fickleness of popularity. To-day his work is valued in Europe and America. Most of the provincial museums of France possess their treasured examples of his paintings, and many fine pictures are contained in private collections in England. Greuze is well represented in the National Galleries of England and Scotland, while in the Wallace Collection the British nation enjoys, after the Louvre, the most representative collection of his works in existence.

From the book "Famous Paintings" Volume 2 printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
(Firefox users must click again on the large photo to see the very large image.)

Online "Name the Painting"

Jean-Baptiste Greuze
biography at Wikipedia

Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Jean-Baptiste Greuze
at Web Museum, Paris

Jean-Baptiste Greuze
paintings at Wikipedia

European Paintings
look for Greuze in the Artist section

Online book about Greuze
at Open Library.org

Greuze the Draftsman
at Antiques and the Arts Online