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Declaration of Love

Declaration of Love

c. 1720

Nicolas Lancret

(French, 1690-1743)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 103 x 90.5 x 9 cm (40 9/16 x 35 5/8 x 3 9/16 in.); Unframed: 80.1 x 64 cm (31 9/16 x 25 3/16 in.)

Elisabeth Severance Prentiss Collection 1944.86

Description

A category of painting invented in France in the early 1700s is the fête galante (gallant party), with subject matter that hovers between fantasy and reality. The figures in theatrical costume derive from Italian street performers seen in Paris, while the playful outdoor garden party connects to leisure activities enjoyed by certain Parisian elites. The arts of conversation, music, and painting—all highly valued by French aristocracy—intersect in this work.

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