Head of a Young Woman

Jean-Baptiste Greuze French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 631

Swirling clothing and hair join soulfully upturned eyes and a tilted head in order to condense an emotion—perhaps sorrowful longing—typical of têtes d’expression. Such "expressive heads" were part of artists’ academic training, but also enjoyed appeal as independent works of art. This particular pose captures the late eighteenth-century rise of sentimentalism, a largely literary movement that pulled on readers’ emotions, which Greuze used to great visual effect.

Head of a Young Woman, Jean-Baptiste Greuze (French, Tournus 1725–1805 Paris), Oil on canvas

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