Flemish School, 19th century

Oil painting on canvas, modern frame in the Louis XIV style
115 x 93.5 cm
Date of entry at UNESCO
Donating country France
Artwork included in the global donation made to UNESCO of the Château Bois du Rocher (France) by the Aschberg family in 1956, and entered in the Collection following the auction held in 1993.
© Photo: UNESCO/ P. Lagès
All rights reserved

This painting represents a 19th century interior in which a man and a woman are depicted. In what may be a kitchen setting, the figures stand out against a dark background. The scene illustrates the moment when the young woman working on her embroidery is surprised by a man, who attracts her attention from behind. The woman, her hand still placed on her embroidery work, turns her head towards him. The scene subtly evokes an attraction between the two, shown by the slight blush in their cheeks.

They are dressed in contemporary Flemish style; only the velvet and goldthread embroidered chair refers to a more bourgeois taste. The woman’s face, illuminated by her smile, as well as the contrast between the dark back ground and the pearl-white color of her complexion echo the work of Rubens (1577-1640) who has unquestionably marked Flemish painting heritage.

Although this work has suffered damage to its paint layer, the treatment of shape and contrast remains quite remarkable. The artist, unknown, certainly hoped to illustrate his knowledge of the Flemish masters and his skill in the techniques of his time.

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