The Marriage Contract
French painter of Flemish descent, b. Valenciennes. Until 1704 poverty forced him to work in the shops of mediocre artists, where he produced genre and devotional subjects. In 1704?C8 he studied in the studio of Claude Gillot, an adept painter of scenes of theatrical life, which later became the subject of some of Watteau's finest paintings, such as Love in the Italian Theatre and Love in the French Theatre (both: Berlin). In 1708?C9 Watteau worked with the decorator Claude Audran. Watteau attracted the attention of eminent patrons in his last years, including the comte de Caylus, his biographer, and in 1717 he was made a full member of the Acad??mie royale. The Embarkation for Cythera (1717; Louvre) is characteristic of his art; it is a delicate, courtly fantasy, represented in warm and shimmering pastel tones that place him among the great colorists of all time. A lyric, Giorgionesque quality pervades his airy, gay, and sensuous scenes, which have a poignancy that none of his followers attained. Out of the most fleeting aspects of life he created an enduring and individual art. His exquisite paintings influenced fashion and garden design in the 18th cent. Other outstanding works include Gilles (Louvre), Perspective (Mus. of Fine Arts, Boston), Mezzetin (Metropolitan Mus.), and Gersaint's Shop Sign (1719; Berlin). 1713
Oil on canvas
Museo del Prado, Madrid
Painting ID:: 19175
The Marriage Contract
Nicolas Lancret (22 January 1690 ?C 14 September 1743), French painter, was born in Paris, and became a brilliant depicter of light comedy which reflected the tastes and manners of French society under the regent Orleans.
His first master was Pierre d'Ulin, but his acquaintance with and admiration for Watteau induced him to leave d'Ulin for Gillot, whose pupil Watteau had been. Two pictures painted by Lancret and exhibited on the Place Dauphine had a great success, which laid the foundation of his fortune, and, it is said, estranged Watteau, who had been complimented as their author.
Lancret's work cannot now, however, be taken for that of Watteau, for both in drawing and in painting his touch, although intelligent, is dry, hard and wanting in that quality which distinguished his great model; these characteristics are due possibly in part to the fact that he had been for some time in training under an engraver.
The number of his paintings (of which over eighty have been engraved) is immense; he executed a few portraits and attempted historical composition, but his favorite subjects were balls, fairs, village weddings, etc. The British Museum possesses an admirable series of studies by Lancret in red chalk, and the National Gallery, London, shows four paintings--the "Four Ages of Man" (engraved by Desplaces and l'Armessin), cited by d'Argenville amongst the principal works of Lancret. In 1719 he was received as Academician, and became councillor in 1735; in 1741 he married a grandchild of Boursault, author of Aesop at Court. mk65
Oil on copper
Painting ID:: 29272