The Moscow Tavern

The Moscow Tavern

c. 1773

Jean Baptiste Le Prince

(French, 1734-1781)

Pen and brown ink and brush and brown and gray wash on white laid paper

Support: Beige laid paper, laid down on multi-ply board overmounted with decorative borders, framing lines in brown ink

Sheet: 19.5 x 24.2 cm (7 11/16 x 9 1/2 in.)

Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2008.355

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Description

French art during the 1700s often reflects an interest in the exotic, especially in imagery of lands then perceived as far away and unusual-such as Turkey and China, places with religions and cultural practices different from those of Western Europe. Le Prince developed his own type of exotic imagery based on the peoples and customs of Russia. But unlike most artists, who fabricated fantastic visions of such places, he based his work on his own observations made in Russia between 1758 and 1763. After returning to Paris, Le Prince continued to rely on his Russian experiences for artistic subject matter. This drawing shows a rustic structure built as an outdoor pleasure garden and drinking establishment. Le Prince, who was an innovative printmaker, developed the medium known as aquatint, which allowed artists to translate the broad tonal washes of ink drawing into a type of etching. Le Prince translated this drawing into an aquatint. For more about this technique, see the exhibition about French printmaking on view nearby in galleries 109 and 110.

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