Étude du tableau de la dame de Charité

Accession Number

Étude du tableau de la dame de Charité

Jean Baptiste Raphaël Urbain Massard

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
etching and engraving on laid paper

9 1/4 in x 6 5/16 in (23.5 cm x 16.03 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink

Label copy
Jean Baptiste Raphaël Urbain Massard,
after Jean-Baptiste Greuze
France, 1740–1822; France, 1725–1805
Étude du tableau de la dame de Charité
(Study for a painting of Charity)
Etching and engraving on laid paper
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink, 2012/2.176

Subject matter
This print reproduces an intermediary state of Greuze's then unfinished oil painting depicting the lady of charity ("La Dame de charité"). As such, it served to publicize the painting when it was published in 1772. Massard's reproduction focuses on the young woman at the center of the story, depicting a detail of her head, cloaked in a fur-lined hood, as she looks modestly downward. This image is encircled in a medallion and given pride of place in the upper half of the print, and Massard treats it with great attention to detail. Below the bust, Greuze's painting appears to be lightly sketched and is surrounded by a wreath. Although the narrative is somewhat vague, it is clear the lady is visiting a sick man while comforting her child, a doubly generous gesture that provides moral justification for this image of a pretty woman.

Physical Description
A bust of a pensive female figure enrobed in drapery is encased in a medallion.  It is above a sketched scene with multiple figures in an interior space, who surround a man lying in a bed that is enframed by a garland of foliage.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Collection Area

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allegory (artistic device)
charity (philosophical concept)
genre (visual works)
ill (people)
medallions (ornament areas)

2 Related Resources

Treatment and Healing
(Part of: History of Medicine - American Association of Historians of Medicine (AAHM))

& Author Notes

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