Boilly ‘Love Crowned’


After Louis-Léopold Boilly.  L’Amour Couronné.  [Love crowned].  Paris, ca. 1794.  Proof before letters.  Etching and stipple by J.F. Cazenave.  21 3/8 x 17 3/4.  Excellent condition.


A rare print after a painting by French genre artist, Louis-Léopold Boilly (1761-1845).  Boilly was known for his images of the individuals and daily life of France’s middle-class.  He worked in France during a very turbulent period, his career spanning the monarchy, Revolution, and Napoleonic periods, and beyond.  This work was published at the height of the Revolutionary Reign of Terror, but it bespeaks the pleasures of private life.  It is based on one of the canvasses he exhibited in 1793 at the Paris Salon.  Two women are crowning a statue of Cupid with a wreath of flowers, perhaps celebrating a success in love.  It was just about this time that Boilly got into trouble with the Committee of Safety because of the erotic theme of some of his paintings.  He was reprieved when it was discovered he had painted the heroic Triumph of Morat.  The image here is typical of Boilly’s genre paintings which made him so popular in the decade leading up to its publication.  It is a stipple etching by J.F. Cavenave (born ca. 1770), one of the best practitioners of this art at the time.  The chiaroscuro effects Cavenave was able to achieve are remarkable.  This is a proof before the title was added, with only credit given to the etcher.