Concert in the Oval Salon of Pierre Crozat's Chateau at Montmorency


Nicolas Lancret ( French, 1690 - 1743 )

About 1719–1720
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General Description

This lively oil sketch is a precious record of the fashionable salon of the wealthy banker and patron of the arts Pierre Crozat, at whose residence artists, musicians, and men of letters regularly mingled with some of the richest members of Parisian society. This painting was conceived as one of a pair. Its pendant (now in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich) depicts a similar scene of musical enjoyment, situated in Crozat's Parisian residence on the rue de Richelieu.

Nicolas Lancret is usually considered the artistic heir to Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), whose images of reverie gave exquisite expression to the refined sensibility of the French rococo. Although Lancret treated many of the same gallant subjects as his mentor Watteau, Lancret's acute observation of aristocratic dress and comportment lends his art a more tangible weight.

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Fun Facts

  • Music historian Michael Greenberg has asserted that this painting contains one of the earliest extant pictorial representation in French art of the double bass, an instrument not introduced in Paris until the beginning of the eighteenth century and one that Crozat was known to own.

  • Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived in the Parisian suburb of Montmorency, where the depicted chateau is located, from 1756-1762.

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