GREUZE, Jean-Baptiste
(b. 1725, Tournus, d. 1805, Paris)

Young Peasant Boy

Oil on panel, 41 x 32 cm
Private collection

The Young Peasant Boy exemplifies the artist's interest in a specific genre of allegorical portraiture - pictures not meant to be pure likenesses of a specific sitter, but meant to evoke in the viewer an emotional response. These 'portraits' were creations of Greuze's imagination. The boy here depicted, in his rustic red vest, appears to be less the child of a farmer than that of an upper-class family in the guise of a peasant child. However, what Greuze has perfectly instilled in his portrayal, through the direct and guileless gaze of this young boy, is the unadulterated innocence of childhood.