Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Jean -Baptiste Greuze ( born August 21, 1725 in Tournus ( Saône- et- Seine), † March 21, 1805 in Paris) was a French painter.


Greuze came from a rich family. At his father's request, he should be an architect, but after long disputes Greuze prevailed and was allowed to become a painter. He came to Lyon in the studio of the painter Charles Gromdon, whose son was the musician André- Ernest- Modest Grétry.

With 25 years of Greuze was adopted on the recommendation of his teacher Gromdon at the École des Beaux -Arts in Paris as a student. For the most part he was a pupil there from Charles Joseph Natoire. Under his guidance in 1755, the most famous work of Greuze, was " father, his children the Bible expository ". About Louis de Silvestre, the drawing teacher at court, tried Greuze there as well to get a job; vain.

End of 1755 Greuze took a study trip to Italy, specifically to study the ancient artists. After living in Florence and Rome - both cities he found uninteresting after own statement - he settled for a few months in Naples. 1757 Greuze returned back to Paris and settled there as a freelance painter. As such, he married a few years later; the marriage to have been very unhappy. The later painter Anna Greuze was his daughter.

In his artistic work quite connected to the Rococo, Greuze came very fast now out of fashion. The zenith of his career was already over, when he took part in 1765 in the exhibition of the Parisian salons and at the same time exhibited in the Academy of Arts. As a new member of the Academy, he had the duty to submit a sample of work ( a picture on a specific topic ). After a long send a reminder delivered Greuze 1768 picture " of the Emperor Severus, his son, pulling because of the shortages of Scotland intended assassination attempt against him, to account " from. Only a few weeks after delivery Greuze was added finally to the Academy.

Like many of his contemporaries, Greuze had speculated with assignats and the little that he had lost. From the French Revolution Greuze was initially excited until he lost due to political circumstances all belongings. At this time Greuze earned his living almost exclusively painting and drawing lessons. One of his most famous pupils was Constance Mayer. In 1800, joined them in the studio of Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, one of his eternal rival. 1804/ 05 Greuze tried in vain, with the image of " The First Consul Napoleon " of the new government is to serve.

At the age of nearly 80 years, the painter Jean Baptiste Greuze died on 21 March 1805 in abject poverty in Paris. Jacques Dumont and Jean Simon Berthelemy shown him the only friends pay their last respects.

Although Greuze was thrilled by the thought of the Enlightenment Denis Diderot and Jean -Jacques Rousseau, he was arrested in his entire artistic creation to the descriptions of the bourgeois milieu. For his depictions of girls and women he had known; many sat him for his student Constance Mayer model.

He was a member of the Paris Masonic Lodge Neuf Sœurs.

Works (selection)

  • The fluctuating virtue
  • The Village Wedding
  • The Father's Curse ( the counterpart to the next)
  • The repentant son returning
  • The Broken Jug
  • The ungrateful son
  • The beloved mother
  • Little girl with a black shawl around her shoulders
  • A gout fragile age
  • Father, his children the Bible expository
  • The Emperor Severus, his son pulling accountable


Portrait of Randon de Boisset, Oval

Portrait of a young peasant girl

Portrait of a young girl

W. A. Mozart, 1763-64, Yale University