After studying painting in Metz, Jean-Baptiste Leprince entered the Paris studio of François Boucher. He undertook a trip to Russia in 1758, during which he drew and painted everything he observed and noted each detail down in sketchbooks. Following his return to Paris at the end of 1764 Leprince was very successful; Orientalism was then very much in vogue. He was received into the Académie de peinture in 1765, where he presented The Russian Baptism as his reception piece. Diderot did not stint on his praise of the artist. The originality of the settings, the picturesque quality of the scenes represented, and the oddity of the costumes had the attraction of novelty for his Parisian audience. Our painting dates from 1762 and must therefore have been executed during his stay in Russia.
To the naked eye
The painting seems to be in a good condition. Two old horizontal craquelure lines are visible, one along the upper edge, at ca. 2 cm from the top (possibly due to the stretcher?); similar horizontal craquelure line is visible at ca. 2 cm from the bottom edge. A possible repair is visible along the tree trunk.
The impastos and colours in the figure of the shepherdess seem to be rather well preserved.
Some minor thinness can be observed in the lower foreground and in the sky area.
Some tiny vertical retouched lines (retouched craquelures?) can be seen, at ca. 5 cm from the right edge and some scattered minor ones throughout.
Under the UV light
The varnish layer fluoresces almost completely. Strengthening is visible in the figure of the shepherdess, and on the left of the figure’s hair. A few in the sheep on the left, and along the edges and in the lower foreground.
Offered with a carved and giltwood frame, in good condition.
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