Les Malheurs de l'amour (The Sorrows of Love)
  • Date: 1790
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 45 x 55 cm
  • Inv: P479
  • Location: Boudoir
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Further Reading
  • A lady is supported by a confidante as she mourns the end of an affair. A servant has returned her portrait and an unopened letter, presumably signalling the breakup. The oval portrait appears to have traveled between the lovers as a visual vehicle of communication, similar to 'billet-doux' (or love letters) of the period.

    The painting forms part of a series of eleven genre scenes painted for the Avignon nobleman Antoine Joseph François Xavier Calvet de Lapalun (together with 'The Visit Returned' [P473]). These paintings representvarious aspects of the theme of love set in an upper-middle class context.

    Such paintings by Boilly form part of an existing tradition which goes back at least to the 1730s, consisting of fashionable, contemporary interior scenes with easily recognisable plots, enacted by stock characters. Boilly’s fine manner of painting emulates the work of Dutch seventeenth-century fijnschilders (or fine painters), such as Gerrit Dou, which were extremely fashionable in Paris at the time.

    The conservation of 'The Sorrows of Love' was made possible in 2018 by the generous support of Étienne Bréton/Saint Honore Art Consulting and Pascal Zuber Art Conseil.