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Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725–1805)
Anacreon in His Old Age Crowned by Love, before 1762
Pen and black ink, touches of brown ink, black wash, heightened with white tempera, over graphite, on brown paper
Signed at lower left in brown ink, Greuze; inscribed by the artist on the mount, Anacreon couronné par l'amour dans la viellesse Greuze.
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; 1977.57
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.