The miniature entered The Met as by Mortier (see 25.106.15
), an attribution with which Nathlie Lemoine-Bouchard (2003) concurred. In 1952 Leo R. Schidlof (unpublished opinion) thought it a fine and typical though unsigned work of Jean Antoine Laurent. Bodo Hofstetter (1995) did not agree with this attribution; however, it seems to be borne out by comparing this miniature with that of a young man carving his initials on a tree, signed with Laurent's initial and dated 1791 (Leo R. Schidlof, The Miniature in Europe
, Graz, 1964, vol. 1, p. 471; vol. 4, pl. 338, fig. 688, from the Bléhaut collection, Bourg-Argental). While the present example demonstrates Laurent's skill with landscape backgrounds, it does not support Schidlof's claim (1964, vol. 1, p. 470) that this artist's miniatures are "faultless in drawing and in expression with an exceptional sense of colour."
Born in Baccarat, Laurent became a pupil of Jean François Durand (born 1731) and of Jean-Baptiste Charles Claudot (1733–1805) in Nancy. He began to exhibit from Paris at the Salon of 1791, and was subsequently patronized by Empress Joséphine, Queen Hortense, Louis XVIII, and the duchess of Berry. He died of apoplexy brought on by the announcement that he had been made a chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur in 1832.
[2016; adapted from Reynolds and Baetjer 1996]