This information is ©
The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2018
La Marchande de Legume (Peasant family at a well)
CRE LE NAIN, Louis-Antoine; (French; b. 1598/1610-1648) and Matthieu; (French; d. 1677) ATTR WILLEMSENS, Abraham; (Flemish; active 1627-1672) ATTR LE MAITRE AUX BEGUINS; (French; 17th century)
oil on canvas
87.5 x 108.0
101.0 x 121.0
From the founder, Dr. Hunter's collection. Hunter bought two paintings attributed to the Le Nain brothers. All three brothers were founding members of the French Royal Academy (1648), who developed a distinctive mode of genre painting related to the Bamboccianti in Italy, but with a Virgilian or Horatian admiration for the peasantry that was itself part of seventeenth-century Classicism. Although successful in their time, the Le Nains were later dismissed as going against official academic doctrine. In Hunter's day, Rousseau's call for a return to Nature, the popularity of domestic scenes by Chardin, and Diderot's plea for an art focusing on human nature, brought the attention of a few distinguished collectors back to their work.
Strange, Hunter, and Ramsay were among the first in London to re-discover the Le Nains. The Peasant Family was in Strange's collection by 1775 when an ex-student of the Foulis Academy, J. Mitchell, engraved it. Strange would have become aware of the Le Nain brothers when studying in France under Jacques-Philippe Le Bas (1707-1783), who was among the first to engrave one of their paintings, La Fiancée Normande. Strange also knew Pierre-Jean Mariette, who was also an admirer, and noted that 'The talent of Chardin is only a renewal of that of the Le Nains. Like them, he has chosen the most simple and naïve subjects ….' Confusion surrounds the oeuvre of the Le Nains, and Hunter's Peasant Family at a Well suffered the fate of many, being dismissed as the work of a copyist. Recent conservation reveals a work of considerable quality, comparable with works agreed to be by the Le Nains, and with pentimenti showing that it cannot be a copy.
Bequeathed by Dr William Hunter, 1783
LANDSCAPE : ANIMAL : FIGURE : DOG : SHEEP : PEASANT : LOST TREASURES : VEGETABLE SELLER : CHILD : DONKEY : GOAT : HUNTER 2007 : ON DISPLAY :