Lot 41
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20 000 - 30 000 EUR


Portrait of a Woman in Venus Disarming Cupid
Oil on canvas
134.5 x 97.5 cm

Christie's London, 21 May 1976, lot 110, as Jean-Baptiste Van Loo

Christophe Leribault, Jean-François de Troy, Arthena, 2002
Dominique Brême, François de Troy, Somogy Edition d'Art, 1997

Recently reappeared, this allegorical portrait of Venus and Cupid is an interesting addition to the catalogue of Jean-François de Troy, in a field in which his father François excelled before him. The scene is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, in which Cupid accidentally shoots an arrow at his mother, making her immediately fall in love with the mortal Adonis. Venus is forced to disarm her son, because of whom she suffers the torments of love. Author of some of the most representative images of the reign of Louis XV and his savoir-vivre (such as the Oyster Lunch at the Condé Museum in Chantilly or the Toilet for the Ball at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles), Jean-François de Troy distinguished himself within the French school by his fiery technique serving a powerful decorative style. The opulence of the drapes, the skillful shortening of the woman's arm, and the grimace of love are all striking stylistic analogies that link our portrait to Venus and Love Stung by a Bee from the Angers Museum, and lead us to date our canvas around 1715-20. The young Cupid protesting by contorting himself, bringing a humorous touch to the painting without denying, on the contrary, the grace of the model, is found almost identically in a Renaud et Armide (C. Leribault, p. 72) preserved in a French private collection. The hybrid character of this type of work, between portrait and history painting, and the comparison with a painting of the same subject by François de Troy (not located, reproduced p. 144 of D. Brême's monograph) reveals the proximity but above all the differences between the psychological research of the model of a portraitist by trade, the father, and the narrative ease of the son, fundamentally a history painter. Thus, our painting is as much the portrait of a young elegant woman, with a very French distinction, which confirms Jean-François de Troy as one of the great painters of women, as it is that of a period, the pretty Regency period, "where everything was done except penance", according to an old popular song.
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