Madame Favart, depicted here, was the principal actress of the Opéra Comique and played the role of Bastienne in the parody Bastien and Bastienne, written by her husband, who was in fact the director of the Opéra. The play premiered on 26 September 1753 and the role was to become Madame Favart's most famous, gaining her considerable critical acclaim.
This drawing, executed in colored chalks on vellum, was previously recorded as a copy of a lost painting by Vanloo (known only from an engraving by Jean Daullé). Judging, however, from the drawing's quality and painterly execution, it is much more likely that the engraving was in fact based on this sheet, rather than a lost painting. The dimensions of the drawing correspond closely with the engraving and its composition is reversed. Its painterly guise may have prompted Daullé to describe it a painting rather than a drawing and inscribe his print: Peint par C. VanLoo.
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