Jean-Baptiste Greuze, The Village Bride

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725 - 1805): Rococo (1730s - 1780s)

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, a prominent artist of the Rococo era, left an indelible mark on the world of art through his unique style and masterful works. Born in the year 1725, his artistic journey unfolded in a time of grandeur, opulence, and intricate beauty. In this article, we delve into the life, background, artistic style, and a selection of 20 notable artworks that epitomize Jean-Baptiste Greuze's contribution to the Rococo movement.

Birthplace and Family Background

Greuze was born in the vibrant city of Tournus, France. Raised in a middle-class family, he exhibited an early aptitude for artistic pursuits. His father, a master tiler, recognized his son's talents and supported his creative ambitions, which eventually led to Greuze's formal training as an artist.

Education and Training

Greuze's artistic journey began with him studying under Charles Grandon in Lyon, a city renowned for its artistic heritage. This foundation laid the groundwork for his exceptional skills. As he honed his craft, Greuze's passion for portraying emotion and human sentiment flourished, setting him on a unique artistic trajectory.

Art Style: Emotion and Naturalism in Rococo

Greuze's art style is characterized by a blend of Rococo aesthetics and a focus on emotional realism. Unlike many of his contemporaries who were enamored with elaborate ornamentation, Greuze found beauty in the genuine expressions and feelings of his subjects. His works often depict scenes from everyday life, infused with poignant emotions and a sense of moral narrative.

20 Notable Artworks by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

1. "The Village Bride" (1761)

A heartwarming scene depicting a young couple's engagement, capturing their tender emotions in a pastoral setting.

2. "The Father's Curse" (1777)

Greuze's mastery of emotional storytelling shines through in this piece, portraying a father's anger and disappointment towards his wayward son.

3. "The Milkmaid" (c. 1760)

This artwork celebrates the beauty in simplicity, showcasing a milkmaid in a contemplative moment, surrounded by the tools of her trade.

4. "The Broken Pitcher" (1771)

A poignant portrayal of a young girl's remorse as she stands before her mother, the titular broken pitcher symbolizing her mistake.

5. "The White Hat" (1780)

Greuze's keen attention to detail is evident in this portrait of a young woman adorned with a white hat, evoking a sense of elegance and charm.

6. "The Village Bride" (1761)

A bride's mix of excitement and nervousness is palpable as she readies herself for her new life, surrounded by friends and family.

7. "The Lamentation" (1756)

This emotive piece captures the grief of mourners gathered around a deceased young woman, illustrating Greuze's ability to evoke deep emotions.

8. "The Paternal Curse" (1777)

A companion to "The Father's Curse," this painting depicts the resolution of the father-son conflict, highlighting Greuze's narrative prowess.

9. "The Seated Young Woman" (c. 1770)

The subject's direct gaze and pensive expression draw viewers into this intimate portrait, showcasing Greuze's proficiency in capturing human emotions.

10. "The Paralytic" (1770)

A somber depiction of an elderly man crippled by paralysis, offering a glimpse into the challenges of old age and infirmity.

11. "The Sleep of Venus" (1751)

Greuze's flirtation with mythological themes is evident in this sensuous portrayal of the goddess Venus, draped in slumber.

12. "The Village Gossips" (1762)

A playful scene featuring a group of women engrossed in gossip, capturing the dynamics of small-town life with a touch of humor.

13. "The Pet Goldfinch" (1765)

An endearing portrayal of a young girl, her innocence contrasted by the fragile bird she cradles, illustrating themes of care and vulnerability.

14. "The Wool Winder" (1759)

Greuze's talent for showcasing the beauty of mundane activities is evident in this depiction of a girl winding wool, illuminated by soft light.

15. "The Beloved Mother" (c. 1765)

A touching portrayal of maternal love and tenderness, as a mother gazes affectionately at her child in her arms.

16. "The Betrothed" (1761)

Capturing the intimate moment of a couple's betrothal, this painting radiates the joy and anticipation of new beginnings.

17. "The Spoiled Child" (1765)

Greuze's exploration of familial dynamics is evident in this portrayal of a child's tantrum and a mother's exasperation.

18. "The Little Nurse" (1760)

An endearing scene showcasing the bond between siblings, as an older sister takes on the role of caretaker for her younger brother.

19. "The Neapolitan Girl" (1790)

In a departure from his earlier works, Greuze's later painting depicts a young Neapolitan girl with captivating realism, capturing her character and beauty.

20. "The Accolade" (1771)

This work exemplifies Greuze's knack for storytelling, depicting a young man receiving a blessing or accolade, his emotions laid bare.


Jean-Baptiste Greuze's legacy lives on through his remarkable artworks that encapsulate the spirit of the Rococo era. His ability to evoke genuine emotions and tell compelling stories through his brushwork sets him apart as a master of his craft. From tender scenes of love and connection to introspective moments of contemplation, Greuze's art continues to resonate with audiences, inviting us to explore the depths of human sentiment and experience.


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