Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743) and workshop-Scene in a park, the fortune teller.
Canvas of 46.5 cm by 36 cm
Old frame of 60 cm by 50 cm
Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743)
Son of Robert Lancret (1645-1695), coachman then controller of the Saint-Antoine gate, Nicolas was destined from a young age for the profession of intaglio engraver. For this purpose, he received from his older brother, François-Joseph Lancret (1686-1752), who was a master engraver, the first drawing lessons for which he showed rare aptitude. He then obtained from his parents to give up his job as an engraver for painting. He first entered the studio of Pierre Dulin, professor at the Academy, then took on the painter Gillot, whose pupil Watteau was, as his master. This binds with Lancret and advises him to leave the studio, to take only nature as a guide, to draw views of landscapes around Paris, and to invent compositions where he could use his studies. Lancret followed this advice, and the two paintings he executed received the approval of Watteau, as well as of the Academy which approved him on March 24, 1719. This emulator of Watteau specialized very early in gallant parties. His brilliant masquerades, his talent earned him numerous commissions from great collectors, such as the Duc d'Antin, the Count of Carignan, Crozat, the Count Tessin, Frédéric II (who owned more than 25 paintings by the painter, including the Moulinet, the Dance, the Game of Pied-de-boeuf, the Ball (Berlin, Charlottenburg)) and the Superintendent of Royal Buildings. Lancret works for Fontainebleau (Village Wedding, 1737, in situ), La Muette (The Four Seasons, 1738, Louvre), Versailles (Ham Lunch, 1735, Chantilly, Condé Museum). Very close to Lemoyne, whom he admired, he only dabbled in history painting with rare exceptions: Chasse au tigre, 1736, painted for Versailles, Musée d'Amiens and the two sketches in the Louvre (the Lit de justice held by the majority of Louis XV, the Reception at Versailles of the Knights of the Holy Spirit) Lancret was also inspired by the Fables and Tales of La Fontaine, and he retained essentially from the Netherlands the somewhat familiar taste for genre subjects, treated on a lighter tone, although purely rustic scenes are more numerous in his work after 1736. His portraits (the Bourbon-Conti family, Illinois University, Krannert Art Museum) are treated as genre scenes. Similarly, Lancret, having a strong taste for theatre, introduces scenes in a rural setting, like Watteau.