L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Genre paintings by Jean-Baptiste Mallet, circa late 1780s - 1790s

Jean-Baptiste Mallet (1759, Grasse - French genre painter. First a student of Julian Simon in Toulon, then Pierre-Paul Prud'hon in Paris, Mallet is best remembered for his small-scale gouaches and watercolors. Not by any stretch a great painter - most of his work is actually rather crude - his work has nevertheless become well known as a valuable chronicle of fashion and interior design from the last days of the ancien régime, through the Revolution, to the Directoire and First Empire.

This and the next two paintings are typical of the racy images being created at the time and eagerly collected by "discriminating clientele".
Outright pornography was also being produced in large quantities, even by established and otherwise "serious" artists.
(This is another version of the painting at the top of the page.)
(A slightly later work - which I actually like a lot.)


  1. As you say, not very adept technically, but his views of the upper class, doing all their upper-classy indolent things really are a marvelous chronicle of a time. The naughty ones? One does wonder where, and how one displayed such things.

    1. Actually, the people in these paintings would be more the middle class, the bourgeoisie. (Still more affluent than what we would understand as "middle class", though.) And the naughty pictures were usually kept in portfolios or special-built cabinets.

  2. Love these little snapshots of 'how they lived' back then.... instagram of the 18th century!