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A Pastoral Scene ('La Jardinière Endormie')

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A Pastoral Scene ('La Jardinière Endormie') Dated 1762

Not on display

The seemingly innocent romantic gesture of a young man leaving flowers for a sleeping woman thinly veils this painting’s true theme of lust and sexual attraction. His longing gaze signals his desire for her. The woman, like the garden in which she sleeps, is associated with fruitfulness, fertility and procreation. The giant urn above her and vegetables beneath her symbolise her capacity to carry and to nourish any potential children. This painting was exhibited at the 1765 Paris Salon where it was condemned by the French art critic Diderot. Along with the Scottish National Gallery’s other two pastorals, this picture was in the collection of the Marchal de Saincy family. Originally, the paintings were not all the same size, but were subsequently cut to equal dimensions.

Glossary Open

Paris Salon

The Paris Salon was the official exhibiting space of the French Academy. Established in 1673 it moved to the Salon d'Apollon at the Louvre in 1725, when it became known as the ‘Salon de Paris’. In 1737 the annual exhibitions were made public and artists were invited to submit their work before a jury. Exhibiting at the Salon and receiving official recognition were vital for an artist's career. In the late 19th century artists became disillusioned with the jury system and its influence declined as a number of independent exhibiting societies were established. The government withdraw its official support in 1881.


A landscape painting in which the countryside is represented as an idyllic place, peopled by shepherds and shepherdesses or mythological figures.

Paris Salon, Pastoral


  • Acc. No. NG 2441
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size Painted area: 232.00 x 91.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1986