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Nicolas Lancret: Dance Before a Fountain

Mary Tavener Holmes
With a conservation note by Mark Leonard

In a garden glade before a grand fountain, surrounded by a musical party, an elegant woman in a lustrous white gown dances as part of a foursome, raising her eyes to the viewer as if extending an invitation to the dance. This is the enticing scene in the Getty Museum's painting Dance Before a Fountain by Nicolas Lancret (1690–1743), an excellent example of the fête galante, a genre that reached its peak of popularity in France during the first half of the eighteenth century. This monograph seeks to familiarize American audiences with Lancret, a master of this genre, who was a revered painter in his own time, rivaling his contemporaries Antoine Watteau and François Boucher, and a favorite of crowned heads across Europe. The author's lively, engrossing text uses the painting as a springboard to reveal a remarkable amount about Lancret, his mode of painting, contemporary Paris, and eighteenth-century dance.

Lavishly illustrated with comparative paintings by artists such as Watteau, Boucher, Peter Paul Rubens, Jean-François De Troy, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Hubert Robert, this fascinating peek into a bygone Parisian era is a treat for the eyes and the intellect alike.

Mary Tavener Holmes is an independent scholar from New York who specializes in French eighteenth-century paintings and drawings. Mark Leonard is a former conservator of paintings at the J. Paul Getty Museum.


100 pages
7 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches
58 color and 36 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-0-89236-832-7

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum