Lovers in a Landscape (The Turtle Doves)
Paris, about 1736
Oil on canvas
75.3 x 97.5 cm
A young man gazes at his elegantly-dressed partner and points to a pair of turtle doves.
The birds are the perfect model of faithful lovers who reciprocate their feelings with tenderness. The couple’s romantic encounter in an idyllic landscape is not therefore a scene of seduction, but an image of true love soon to be fulfilled. Lancret was a follower of Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) who popularised what is known as the fête galante – an amorous gathering of elegantly dressed figures in an idealised landscape. This was the first painting purchased by the Barber Institute.
Purchased 1937 (No.37.10)