LANCRET, Nicolas
(b. 1690, Paris, d. 1743, Paris)

Winter (detail)

c. 1720
Oil on canvas
Private collection

Lancret's allegory of Winter depicts the everyday pleasures of upper-class society in early 18th-century France, set in a stately Régence interior. A group of figures are gathered in a refined drawing room; a fire lit in the background and fur-lined overgowns worn by the elegant ladies identify the season as winter. A card game is taking place at the table; some players are discussing strategy while others seem lost in thought, and the woman sitting at the center looks directly out at the viewer rather than at her hand. Two women nearby are reading a score while a third stands behind them, seemingly humming along. The young lady in the foreground entertains a kitten, while an older woman sits by the fire in the background, a small dog in her lap.

In addition to its allegorical subject of Winter, the painting is one of the earliest known depictions of a Régence interior. In decorative arts, Régence was the transition style between Louis XIV's Baroque and Louis XV's Rococo.