Greuze: The Filial Piety

Jean-Baptiste Greuze: The Filial Piety (The Paralytic)


Diderot on Greuze's Filial Piety (Form the Salon of 1763):

"Every figure in the picture shows precisely the right degree of interest for their age and character. The number of figures assembled in quite a small space is very large; but there is no confusion, for this master excels above all else at creating order in his scene. The skin colours are true. The fabrics are very carefully done. There is no awkwardness in any of the movements. Everyone is involved in what they are doing. The youngest children are happy because they are not yet old enough to have feelings. Compassion is the clearest on the faces of the older figures. ...

This painting is beautiful, very beautiful, and woe betide anyone who is able to look at it for a single moment and remain unmoved! The old man's character is unique. The old lady, unique. Wherever you look, you are enchanted. The background, the blankets, the clothes are all perfectly finished; and furthermore, quite up to Chardin's. I'll say it again, this painting is beautiful, or I don't know what is. Moreover, it pulls in crowds of spectators; you can't get close to it. You are transported by it, and when you see it again, you realize you were right to be transported by it.

It would be very surprising if this artist did not excel. He has intelligence and sensibility..."