VIEN, Joseph Marie
Love Fleeing Slavery
Joseph Vien is the creator of the Greek Revival genre in painting in France. The most emblematic work in this field is The Merchant of Love in Fontainebleau, painted in 1763 for Madame du Barry. It depicted a young woman showing another a cage containing specimens of small cupids. In 1788, the Duke of Brisac commissioned from Vien for the same lady collector a second work to match this first piece (a ‘pendant’). This time the cage was open and love could fly away. Despite the somewhat ridiculous nature of the subject, Vien shows here all of his mastery of slender feminine silhouettes and archeological reconstitutions.