(b. 1699, Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, d. 1749, Rome)

The Pack Saddle (le Bat)

Oil on canvas, 31 x 24 cm
Private collection

The Pack Saddle is the tale of a suspicious husband who believes himself a cuckold. To protect his wife's chastity he painted an image of an ass over her pudenda. While he is away, his friend, another artist, makes love to her and erases the image. Before doing so, however, he had carefully copied it onto a piece of paper seen lying on the floor. The lover then repainted the image, but added a "pack saddle" (hence the title of the tale by la Fontaine). The husband, on returning, notes the change and the consequent proof of his wife's adultery. A variant of the painting exists in the Hermitage.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.