Sunday, January 13, 2019

Greuze's THE BROKEN VESSEL: A French Teen's Lost Virginity

La cruche cassée [The Broken Vessel] (1771)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze's La cruche cassée [The Broken Vessel] (1771) is on display in the prestigious Louvre Museum. Here's part of the description of the painting that's posted on the Louvre's website where it's written that the piece is an allegory of lost teen virginity:
Cette jeune fille au regard triste, dont la tenue en désordre laisse entrevoir un sein, est une allégorie de la virginité perdue, symbolisée par la cruche cassée pendue à son bras. 

[This sad looking young girl, whose disordered outfit gives a glimpse of a breast, is an allegory of lost virginity, symbolized by the broken jug hanging from her arm.]
Exposed Pink Nipple

In Erotic Art of the Masters: The 18th Century, Bradley Smith reiterated the Louvre's description of the nymphet slash "childlike girl":
Before 1800 the subtle but moralistic paintings of Jean Baptiste Greuze were much admired. Here a childlike girl exposes a pink nipple, holds flowers against her pubic region and carries a pitcher. (The crack in it indicates that she has lost her virginity.) The contemporary viewer understood. 
Flowers Against Pubic Region & Broken Vessel

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