Broken Eggs

Artist: Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris)

Date: 1756

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 28 3/4 x 37 in. (73 x 94 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of William K. Vanderbilt, 1920

Accession Number: 20.155.8


Broken Eggs attracted favorable comment when exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1757. One critic noted that the young serving girl had a noble pose worthy of a history painter.
The canvas was painted in Rome, but the principal source may have been a seventeenth-century Dutch work by Frans van Mieris the Elder (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), which Greuze would have known from an engraving. The broken eggs symbolize the loss of the girl's virginity.