Reverse mirror paintings are very difficult to manufacture, because the image has to be applied in an unusual order. The details in the foreground are painted first and the background is added as the last step. Many of these reverse mirror paintings were made after illustrations and engravings of Boucher.
L’Agréable Leçon (the entertaining lesson)
In a landscape of trees and a picturesque fountain we see a pair of herds. Snugged up to the boy, the girl plays on his oat. Her favorit sheep is tied to a ribbon that she holds and some more sheep lie at her feet. The scene is completed with a flower basket.
The original is an oval shaped painting of Boucher of 1748 that was presented at the Paris Salon of the same year with exhibit number 19: ‘Un tableau ovale représentant un berger, qui montre à jouer de la flûte a sa bergère’. (an oval scene representing a shepherd who learns his shepherdess to play the flute).
On the Salon of 1750 it was part of item 24: ‘Quatre pastorale de forme ovale […] et la quatrième un berger qui montre à jouer de la flûte à sa bergère sous le même numéro.’
R. Gaillard made a rectangular engraving of the painting, dedicated to the count de Coigny, and gave it the title ‘L’Agréable Leçon’.
In 1752 this pastoral scene was shaped into a sculpture by an anonymous modelmaker from Sèvres under the title ‘le Flûteur’.
Le Mouton Favori
In a landscape with woods and a ruin in the background a pair of shepherds is sitting. The boy has a sheep on his lap and holds a rose over the girl’s head. The girl is ties a ribbon round the neck of a sheep. In the foreground some sheep are lying by the shepherds feet. On the right a basket with flowers and a dog.
The original of this painting has disappeared, but a rectangular engraving by R. Gaillard titled ‘Le Mouton Favori’ remained.
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