Nicolas Lancret, 1690-1743

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H.N. Abrams, 1991 - Art - 167 pages
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During his lifetime (1690-1743), and throughout the greater part of the eighteenth century, Nicolas Lancret was one of the most celebrated artists in France. After nearly two centuries of having been overshadowed by the work of certain contemporaries (notably Watteau), the singular appeal and sophisticated charm of Lancret's genre paintings are once more widely recognized and appreciated. This is the first book in English about Lancret, a key force in the development of the visual arts in eighteenth-century France. As one of the leading artists of his time, Lancret counted among his patrons the crowned heads of Europe, along with major connoisseurs among the aristocracy and in the financial community. He was also the favorite genre artist of Louis XV, who commissioned paintings from him for various royal residences--especially Versailles and Fontainebleau. The reasons for Lancret's popularity and success are apparent in the paintings and drawings splendidly reproduced in this book. His pictures tell lively and intelligible stories, his themes are inventive and entertaining, and his color combinations are bright and striking. His images made the transition from decorative painting to engraving with ease, and then proceeded to capture the popular imagination in much the same way as amusing gossip. As he matured, Lancret developed his talent for narrative--for a visual form of storytelling that is subtle and sophisticated, yet also ingenuous and folkloric. This tradition in European art was strong and continuous, as reflected in the work of its most famous adherents, Hogarth and Greuze. No eighteenth-century painter was more firmly centered and active in that tradition than Nicolas Lancret.

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Introduction by Charles Ryskamp
The Lit de Justice at the Majority of Louis XV

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