Sunday, January 13, 2019

Greuze's THE BROKEN VESSEL: A Nymphet's Lost Virginity

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:

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
Bradley Smith reiterated the Louvre's description of the nymphet in Erotic Art of the Masters: The 18th Century:

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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