Elegant couple, pair of pastels circa 1760
Very beautiful pair of pastels on sheets of blue paper mounted on canvas representing a young couple richly dressed.
The gentleman with the powdered headdress with windings in "pigeon wings" held by a ponytail is dressed in a gray velvet waistcoat embroidered with gold and decorated with lace.
His right hand tucked into his waistcoat, against his chest, according to the rules of decorum of the time. *
His wife is portrayed with a "capricious" hairstyle, that is, with her hair pulled back in a lace cap and her ears open.
She sports a lace choker and a rich "French" court dress.
The dress is a pure wonder, cut in a silk satin embroidered with polychrome flowers, it features "apiaries" pleats on the edges of the neckline, "Watteau" pleated sleeves embellished with bows and lace and a piece of lace. stomach "with ladder knots" on the front of the corset. Very good condition, small restorations in the background of the portrait of a man.
Very fresh colors, gilded oak wood frame, blown glass and original back cardboard. French school from the Louis XV period around 1760.
Frame: Height: 80 cm; Width: 69 cm
Sheet: Height: 63 cm; Width: 52 cm
* At that time, it was unseemly to let your arms hang down beside your body, but the breeches and trousers had no pockets, which is why the custom for men was to reach out to the clergyman:
"It is a fault to cross the arms over the chest, to intertwine them behind the back, to let them hang nonchalantly, to swing them while walking, under the pretext of relief; It is customary that if one walks with a cane in hand, the arm which is unsupported is resting lightly against the body, and it receives an almost imperceptible movement, without however letting it fall aside; if you don't have a cane, muff or gloves, it is quite usual to put your right arm on your chest or stomach, putting your hand in the opening of the jacket, at this point , and drop the left by bending the elbow, to facilitate the position of the hand, under the basque of the jacket. In general, you have to hold your arms in a situation that is honest and decent. "
- John Baptist de La Salle, The rules of decorum and Christian civility, chapter XI
Our opinion :
Our richly dressed and haired couple are represented in the latest fashion in effect in Paris in the 1760s.
The court dress that we can admire is of the same nature as those present on the various portraits of Madame de Pompadour, however the lightness of the "neckline" and the severity of the headdress announce the end of the Baroque and the beginnings of a new fashion.
In the 1760s, a new couple, formed by the Dauphin Louis (1729-1765) and the Dauphine Marie Joséphe de Saxe (1731-1767) will be at the center of all the attention of the court.
The one who is expected to become the future queen of France is endowed with a lively intelligence, combining all the delicacies of heart and mind.
She demonstrates great elegance but is never in excess, and while being a new fashion icon she remains a model of conjugal and maternal love praised by the entire court.
She very quickly becomes the female model to follow, and it is probably a source of inspiration for our young lady who poses richly dressed while inspiring wisdom and fidelity.
We can also make a connection with our work and the painting of the Dauphine painted by Jean Martial Fredou in the 1760s.
The young husband also wears the same benevolent smile that one finds on many gentlemen of the Enlightenment.
There, as well as richly dressed, he does not represent himself in excess and perfectly symbolizes the much more universal values ??taught by Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Our pastellist gives us a masterful performance that demonstrates the manner of a great professional, very comfortable in the difficult exercise of pastel portraits.
Very inspired by Maurice Quentin La Tour but also by Jean Martial Fredou of whom he may have been a student, he remains, despite extensive research, unknown to this day.