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La Fuite en Egypte

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre

(1714 - 1789) | 975.4.126

Date : Circa 1760 | Medium : Oil on canvas

Donated by H. and S. Baderou

This portrayal of La Fuite en Egypte showing the Virgin and Joseph crossing a river represents a return to a tradition that particularly interested Pierre. Watteau's patron, Jean de Julienne, owned one of the versions of this painting. The scale of the landscape (including a shepherd with flock of sheep and crook, cowherd and reaper) is reminiscent of pastoral art. The Virgin stands out like a statue from the other protagonists in the centre of the canvas. The precise execution, clear tones, simple composition and clean colours of the painter's particular palette are a portent of Neoclassicism – Pierre was to succeed Boucher as First Painter to the King in 1770.