"Recreation Champetre" by Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743)
The present fête galante is a typical example of the genre Lancret helped to establish as a legitimate endeavor in French painting. In a lush wooded landscape, seated and reclining ladies and gentlemen (two men and four women) are listening to Pulcinella playing lute and interacting with Harlequin, the stock characters of the Commedia dell'arte. Firmly established in France since the second half of the 17th Century and exerting a dominant influence both on art and theatre the Commedia dell'arte was well known and loved by Lancret thanks to Claude Gillot (1673-1722), his master from 1712-1713, who painted many scenes of Italian comedians.
More than just including theatrical figures in a fête galante as if they had just strolled naturally into the party, Lancret integrates Pulcinello into the action of the scene as he occupies the focal place and attracts most attention. In this manner, under fancy costumes and exaggerated types, the 'comedy' is a thoroughly human one, nudging the spectator into awareness of real truths about human behaviour. The narrative content and humorous anecdotal quality of Lancret's work are paramount and his narrative technique is characterized by the broad gestures, robust faces and vivid expressions of the delicately modelled figures frequently situated close to the picture plane. Lancret was also very masterful with color, his color combinations, in this case brilliant pinks and blues juxtaposed with more earthy tones, are always striking and evocative of contemporary fashion.
'Lancret's work, charming and accurate, reflecting the spirit and manners of our 18th Century' has often been considered the symbol 'of one of the most seductive expressions of French art'.
Citation: Extract taken from the book by G. Wildenstein entitled "Lancret", Paris, 1924, p. 37.
|Medium/Material||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||H-21.75 W-38 inches|
|Year Range from||1700|
|Year Range to||1743|
18th century AD
|Exhibition and Publication History||
* Exhibited"Director’s Choice: Highlights of the Godwin-Ternbach Collection, Part II: Renaissance to Modern Art. " G-TM, 10/10-12/20/02. A. Winter, Curator.
* "SCHOLARS, EXPLORERS, PRIESTS, How the Renaissance Gave Us the Modern World," Curated by James M. Saslow, G -T M, Queens College, CUNY, February 2 - March 27, 2010, # 45, ill.