The Village Bride

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Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Village Bride, 1761
By KATHERINE GRABOWSKY

Tired of your basic paintings of wealthy royalty or ancient Goddesses? Well look no further, because Jean-Baptise Greuze The Village Bride of 1761 stands out from the crowd. The meager earnings of this rural middle-class family add to the allure and charm of the painting, setting his work apart from other great pieces of this time. Apparent from the doting couple’s intertwined arm, this young man and woman are definitely deep in love. While the men exchange the money, this marriage certainly does not appear forced. What better way to remind your significant other of the love that brought you two together than hanging this painting for all guests to observe. More than that, this painting tells a story. Every face represents another feeling towards this wedding. The bride looks somber, but the fact that she must leave her family causes this reaction. A skeptical sister sits behind her father, upset that she was not the first to get married in the family. On the bottom of the painting, the stray chick mirrors the fact that the bride walks away from the pack and goes on her own. Greuze splits the painting between men and women. The male side deals with the economic transaction, while the female side comforts the bride and seems to flow. Every inch of this 36 by 46-inch canvas tells a different story.

Aside from the unique and intricate story this painting tells, Greuze’s technique makes the painting worth a purchase. The dark, neutral tones contrasts with the stark white skin and apron of the bride, drawing the eye to the focal point. A balance of the rising staircase and the dark shadow on the upper right corner create a balanced composition. The symmetry of the people on each side makes the painting feel complete, and the painting seems to flow. The stonewall in the background adds a heaviness, and creates a bare spot that grounds the bottom half of the painting’s narrative. Overall, there is no disputation that Jean-Baptiste’s Greuze’s time at the Academy allowed him to master the skills needed to become a legendary painter. If not because of the intricate details, rich colors and balanced symmetry, you deserve this painting hanging on your wall out of a sign of love. Why try to smother your significant other with unsophisticated jewelry or redundant flowers when you could hold a piece of history in your home, all the while telling them how much you adore them. The young and pure couple illustrates this raw human emotion in its most innocent form and will light any room up with love.


Editor's Note: The authors were asked to write sales copy for Edme-François Gersaint, the prominent rococo art dealer who offered a printed catalog of available works.

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