From 1763 To 1775
The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to explore new styles and subjects, and the boundaries of what was considered art began to expand. This century saw the rise of some of the most famous and influential artists in history, such as Rembrandt, Gainsborough, and David.
Our Lady of Valvanera
This painting depicts the miraculous discovery of the image of Our Lady of Valvanera by the repentant thief-turned-hermit Nuño Oñez, who kneels beside it in adoration.
Hidden in the hollow of an oak tree since the time of the Muslim invasion of Spain, the location of the sacred image was revealed to the hermit in a vision.
The fresh water spring that flows from beneath the tree and the bees that frame the opening in the trunk signal the hidden location.
A Woman with a Dog
This painting belongs to a celebrated group of Fragonard's known as the fantasy figures.
The canvas is broadly brushed, with exceptional virtuosity, panache, and a sense of speed.
The model has recently been identified as the aristocratic salon hostess Marie Emilie Coignet de Courson (1716 - 1806).
Her costume recalls the court dress of Queen Marie de Medicis (1573 - 1642) in Rubens's famous series of paintings (Musee du Louvre, Paris) which Fragonard had occasion to study in
There is humor in the contrast between the sample proportions of the lady and the small size of her lapdog; the curl of his silky tail echoes her gray ringlets
High chest of drawers
European artisans flocked to the British colonies and plied their knowledge of foreign fashions to suit the tastes of local patrons.
This chest's scrolled pediment with a figural finial bust resembles plates in The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director (1754) by British craftsman Thomas Chippendale.
Similarly, the serpent-and-swan motif on the bottom drawer is based on a design by London carver Thomas Johnson in A New Book of Ornaments (1762).
As true of period portraiture, furnishings reveal colonists' awareness of European trends.
The owner of this chest would have neatly stowed their couture and household linens safely in its drawers.
Fragonard probably painted this scene toward the end of his first trip to Italy.
His impetuous technique falls between the usual stages of preparatory sketch and finished work (though this painting's surface has also suffered wear).
Like his contemporary Hubert Robert, Fragonard was fascinated by how eighteenth-century Romans occupied the remains of the city's unrestored, ancient ruins:here, a bustling laundry has been improvised amidst enormous, antique columns and a sacrificial altar.
The Dispatch of the Messenger
In 1765, Boucher exhibited this painting with three others in order to form the narrative of a simple love story:a second painting depicted the arrival of the dove carrying a love letter, a third a showed a shepherdess read the letter aloud to her confidante, and the fourth depicted the lovers finally meeting.
This imaginary landscape, or capriccio, is one of three in The Met's collection from the castle of Colloredo di Monte Albano, near Udine.
Their sizes and shapes seem to have been adjusted by Guardi in the course of painting or immediately thereafter, probably in order to be fit into decorative plaster surrounds.
Guardi built these picturesque compositions from rocky outcroppings, slanting tree trunks, and classical ruins, which are populated by fishermen and their families.
The Ridotto Pubblico at Palazzo Dandolo
This painting is of the Ridotto, a public gaming house.
The painting captures the atmosphere of the room just before it was remodeled in 1768.