Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743)

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 te 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)

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1 September 2020