The House of Cards

Engraver Pierre Filloeul French
After Jean Siméon Chardin French
Publisher Pierre Filloeul French

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Derived from the tradition of moralizing prints, the subject of a child building a house of cards became a popular motif during the eighteenth century. This etching is based on a 1735 painting by Chardin, one of the most celebrated treatments of the theme. In the print, Filloeul faithfully reproduces Chardin’s composition, expressing the ephemeral nature of human endeavors through the image of a boy engrossed in the construction of an object doomed for destruction. In the caption, Filloeul reconnects Chardin’s image with the moralizing tradition by suggesting that adults still act like children by building foolish projects.

The House of Cards, Pierre Filloeul (French, Abbeville 1696–after 1754 Paris), Engraving

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