Whilst the impressive, large scale format of this drawing was typically reserved by the artist for his celebrated depictions of events surrounding the marriage of the Dauphin to Marie-Antoinette in 1770,1 the present work, with its scenes of dancing and merrymaking, also perfectly embodies the hedonistic pursuits that came, in part, to epitomize the court of Louis XV at Versailles.
Whilst it is all too easy to focus one's attention on the gratifying encounters unfurling in front of the viewer's eyes, one should not overlook some of the more technical aspects of this drawing, in which Moreau le Jeune’s characteristic and energetic handling of the pen and black ink medium is totally evident, in particular in the group of onlookers on the right hand of the composition and the group of putti to the left. This, coupled with the bolder outlines, intended to enforce the central grouping, and the use of watercolor, gives this impressive work a vibrancy and richness rarely found on this scale in the artist’s graphic oeuvre.
1. See sale, London, Sotheby's, 8 July 2015, lot 131
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