Allegory of Music, mid-eighteenth century from the workshop of Carle Van Loo; oil on canvas of rectangular shape in its openwork and gilded wooden frame, treated in amati and burnished. Dimensions: width 107.8cm – height 84cm. In order to preserve the integrity of the canvas and its frame, both of which are original, we have decided not to re-line this work; favoring tension bands concealed in major parts under the chassis. This one has been flattened and reversed to tighten the canvas without doubling it with a new canvas. A handwritten inscription "Van Loo" written by the hand of its author appears on the back of the canvas. Charles-André, known as Carle Van Loo, belongs to a family of artists of Dutch origin who settled in France in the 17th century. Van Loo was one of the most acclaimed painters of the reign of Louis XV, appointed First Painter to the King in 1762, benefiting from the favors of Madame de Pompadour, for whom he designed in 1753 a series of four overdoors. Intended for the château de la marquise in Bellevue, these works illustrated the fine arts: painting, sculpture, architecture and music. This type of allegorical representation was in itself nothing very new, but Van Loo renewed the genre by using childish figures. This novelty was hailed by the critics, and instantly imitated by other painters, foremost among whom is of course Boucher. Van Loo not only broke new ground in depicting children in these allegories, he also introduced into each painting an element relating directly to his patron; for the one we present to you, the music; the harpsichordist is none other than Madame de Pompadour herself, however, more than twenty years younger. Today, it is difficult to know which are the originals, especially since the Château de Bellevue was destroyed during the Revolution. It would seem that the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco holds the original series. Mastery, finesse, precision and elegance are the most appropriate terms for this very beautiful work from Van Loo's workshop with a very fine quality of execution. Van Loo's workshop, following the considerable success of this series of allegories to the arts intended for the Château de Bellevue, received numerous orders from the high nobility, always very careful to follow the precepts and good taste of the Marquise de Pompadour, therefore of King Louis XV.
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