Joseph Ducreux

Posted in Art, Education, J. Paul Getty Museum, Paintings

Question of the Week: Does Art Have to Be Serious?

Self-Portrait, Yawning, Joseph Ducreux, before 1783. Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 in.

Nowadays, seeing a silly picture of a person is hardly unusual. Showing personality is a good thing. Social customs weren’t quite the same in 18th-century France, when Joseph Ducreux painted this self-portrait. An official court painter, he was known for refined… More»

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      From you have I been absent in the spring,
      When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,
      Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,
      That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,
      Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smell
      Of different flowers in odor and in hue,
      Could make me any summer’s story tell,
      Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.
      Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
      Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
      They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
      Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
      Yet seemed it winter still, and, you away,
      As with your shadow I with these did play.

      —William Shakespeare, born April 23, 1564

      Vase of Flowers (detail), 1722, Jan van Huysum. The J. Paul Getty Museum

      04/23/14

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