What’s better than a holiday that erases Monday and Tuesday from the work week? Okay, maybe nothing. What’s better than spending Christmas with your Aunt Tut-Tut and Uncle Lurch when no Russian Federation vodka is within reach? The bar has been set low but you’ve guessed it: Baroque dancers in full court costume from the English Baroque Festival is the correct answer. I find the lady in red a particular delight.
In all seriousness I hope you readers have a lovely day whether you get your celebrating on with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Yuletide (and whichever other special days I’m missing here).
To good cheer and tangling beneath the mistletoe!
Jean-Frédéric Schall, a French painter born in Strasbourg in 1752, was one of the last important artists to contribute to the fête galante style popularized by Antoine Watteau. His works are mostly small in scale and executed with a characteristic liveliness in form. His female subjects, particularly his dancers, portray an idealized femininty with delicate facial features and impossibly slim waists.
I find them utterly charming. They’re like miniature cupcakes, sweet and lacking substance. And they’re so 18th century, or at least how the 18th century aristocracy had hoped to appear.
Graced with innocence and ebullience, these ladies seemed a natural pairing with flower sketchings from The British Florist volumes. Enjoy!
Lady with a Dog
Dancer with a Tambourine
A Young Lady Dancing in a Wooded Glade
Portrait of a Lady, possibly Marie-Madeleine Guimard, ballerina of the Paris Opéra
Dancer with a Feather Hat
Dancer with a Bouquet
Dancer in a Louis XVI Costume
All drawings from The British Florist, or a Lady’s Horticultural Journal, Volumes 1-8