Sweet Melancholy

Sweet Melancholy

1756

Joseph-Marie Vien

(French, 1716-1809)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 86.4 x 76.2 x 6.5 cm (34 x 30 x 2 9/16 in.); Unframed: 68 x 55 cm (26 3/4 x 21 5/8 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund 1996.1

Fun Fact

Look closely—three strands of pearls appear in this painting.

Description

The chair, brazier, table, and the setting all show Vien's interest in bringing archaeological accuracy to a new level of precision. Yet his delicate handling and graceful palette derive squarely from 18th-century French painting. The gesture of the melancholic figure, with her head on her hand, has roots going back to the Renaissance. Nonetheless, the painting has a wistful rather than tragic tone. Indeed, images of women in interiors, contemplating a letter with longing or sadness, derive from earlier Dutch paintings of daily life, here transformed into an ancient context.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.