The Angry Wife

Jean-Baptiste Greuze French

Not on view

Greuze achieved success with his paintings of everyday life that emphasized moral values. This scene of domestic chaos, which the artist drew as a model for an engraving, refers to episodes from his own life. About the time he executed this drawing, Greuze recounted instances of his wife’s violent outbursts in the deposition he made to obtain a legal separation. Here, wild-eyed and wielding a decanter above her head, she bursts into the room to accost her husband, who cowers between his daughters at left. The barking dog, broken bottle, overturned chair, and steaming dish all signal the disarray of the household. The contrasting manners of husband and wife also invert the "natural" gender roles assigned by Enlightenment thinkers.

The Angry Wife, Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris), Brush and black and gray wash, heightened with white, over traces of graphite

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