Woman with letter and envelope

The Letter, 1791


Oil on canvasexpand_more

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Linskyexpand_more  64.63.2

The similar size, complementary subject matter, and the appearance of the same young woman in each of these paintings indicate that they narrate the beginning and end of a moralizing romantic tale. In The Poorly Defended Rose, both the lady’s inability to prevent her lover from picking the rose and the broken vase at her feet predict her moral compromise. In The Letter, with her seduction complete, she must subsist with the miniature portrait her lover has sent to make up for his absence. Michel Garnier’s delicate and highly polished painting style was particularly suited for depicting the elegant lifestyle of fashionable Parisians. The artist's detailed attention to decor accurately conveys the richness of the era's interiors. Although the narrative of these paintings is Rococo in sentiment, the solidly-modeled forms and their placement in a shallow picture plane are more typical of Neoclassical compositions.



Garnier, The Letter (#523)
The Letter
Artist Life
1753 - 1819
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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Woman with letter and envelope