About this artwork

The young boy is committing a text to memory and quite literally is a picture of concentration. Although Greuze painted this towards the end of his stay in Italy it shows the strong influence of seventeenth-century Dutch painting and the work of the slightly older French artist Chardin. Greuze asserts the three dimensional character of the boy in a convincing space through such details as his sleeve and book overlapping the table edge. The artist's skilful rendering of textures is also apparent in the painting of the boy's skin, hair, jacket, shirt collar and cuffs.

  • title: A Boy with a Lesson-book
  • accession number: NG 436
  • artist: Jean-Baptiste GreuzeFrench (1725 - 1805)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • materials: Oil on canvas
  • date created: exhibited 1757
  • measurements: 62.50 x 49.00 cm (framed: 68.60 x 59.10 x 8.30 cm)
  • credit line: Bequest of Lady Murray of Henderland 1861

Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Greuze specialised in painting popular scenes from daily life, rich in detail and moralising or sentimental in content. He invented new subjects and had engravings made after his paintings which ensured a wide audience for his work. When he first exhibited at the Paris Salon his paintings were greatly admired, but he was disappointed to qualify for entrance to the French Academy only as a genre rather than as a history painter. He was born in Tournus and studied in Lyon before moving to Paris. Greuze spent two years in Italy and was inspired by the emotional character of Guido Reni's paintings.

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