Anacreon in His Old Age Crowned by Love, before 1762
Signed at lower left in brown ink, Greuze; inscribed by the artist on the mount, Anacreon couronné par l'amour dans la viellesse Greuze.
Pen and black ink, touches of brown ink, black wash, heightened with white tempera, over graphite, on brown paper
12 3/8 x 16 1/8 inches (314 x 407 mm)
Bequest of Therese Kuhn Straus in memory of her husband, Herbert N. Straus
While the end of the eighteenth century saw the rise of Neoclassicism, a parallel interest represented amorous and mythological subjects, as in this sheet by Greuze. Love, personified by a putto, alights on the knee of the sixth-century B.C. Greek poet Anacreon and crowns his head with a laurel wreath, as the poet had desired in one of his Odes. Anacreon's poetry celebrated life's pleasures; Greuze's choice of subject indicates the continuation of an alternative to the rigorous moral philosophy and severe style espoused by David and his colleagues.