Return of the TravellerEnlarge image

Return of the Traveller,

Jean-Baptiste Greuze
French, 1725 - 1805
brush with grey, black, and brown wash over graphite on laid paper
35.1 x 45.6 cm
Purchased 1973
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17235)

In this genre scene constructed with the monumentality of a history painting and oozing with sentiment and moral content, we are invited to read the story in the manner of a pictorial novel. No less than five family members crowd attentively around the central figure of the father. The old man has thrown down his hat and walking stick, while his travel gaiters are removed and his brow mopped - an example of filial piety worthy of emulation.


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