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The Broken Mirror
  • Date: c. 1762–3
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 56 x 45.6 cm
  • Inv: P442
  • Location: Boudoir
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Further Reading
  • A fine example of Greuze’s modern moral genre subjects, The Broken Mirror is a parable of carelessness, where the chaotic state of the interior and girl’s dress reflects the disarray of her morals. The fact that the girl who laments the loss of her virginity is unmarried is emphasised by the yapping dog, a common symbol of carnal desire in eighteenth-century French painting, and her ringless hand which draws our attention as it is positioned in the centre of the picture. The high finish of the painting, the description of different surfaces and the size of the painting all refer to Dutch genre scenes, in particular works of the Fijnschilders, such as Mieris and Metsu. While the style looks back to Dutch paintings, the emotional content of the painting is entirely of Greuze's time.

    The picture belonged to Boucher’s friend and patron, Randon de Boisset, who liked it so much that he refused to lend it to the Salon of 1763 although it was listed in the catalogue.