A period, smaller copy after Louis Jean François Lagrenée's painting entitled 'Melancholy', datable to 'circa' 1785, today in the Louvre, Paris (inv. no. 5571).1
Lagrenée was teacher to his younger brother, Jean-Jacques Lagrenée (1739–1821), and father of François Lagrenée (1774–1832), who also became an artist. From 1760–62 Louis and Jean-Jacques were together in Russia, having been invited there by Empress Elizabeth, and both also spent time at the Académie de France in Rome before pursuing their careers in France.
Lagrenée was a prolific painter and draughtsman, and received many important commissions for both religious and secular works, such as the 'Audience of St Louis with Pope Innocent IV at Lyon' for the École Militaire in Paris. He turned away from the Rococo style of the 18th century to revive the classicising taste of the previous century, and looked to history painters such as Eustache Le Sueur or Louis de Boullogne for inspiration. He also excelled in painting small, allegorical works, such as the present composition.
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