The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
Not especially well known today, the French painter and printmaker Jean-Baptiste
Le Prince (1734-1781) was famous enough in 18th-century Paris. Taught by his
elder countryman François Boucher, inspired by the Dutch and Flemish
genre painters of the 17th century, and fresh from his own five-year experience
of living in Russia, Le Prince developed a type of painting not before seen
in Paris: scenes of the daily life of the humble folk of the Russian countryside,
executed with the surface detail and textures of his Dutch and Flemish forebears,
and glossed with an idealism worthy of his master. With their fancy for all
things Russian, the novelty-starved French aristocracy could not seem to get
enough of Le Prince's work. Among the most popular of these so-called Russian
genre paintings, or russeries as they were called,
was The Russian Cradle (cover).
Completed around 1764, just two years after Le Prince's return to France,
it became the model for numerous prints and drawings, as well as for decoration
on the newly fashionable Sèvres porcelain.
Southgate MT. The Russian Cradle. JAMA. 2004;291(17):2055. doi:10.1001/jama.291.17.2055