TECHNIQUE: Watercolor and gouache on ivory, protected under a convex glass

ARSTIST: Signée mais indéchiffrable

SIGNED: Signed but unreadable

FRAME : Gilded circle metal mount




Unusual miniature circa 1789, showing seven sitters .

A pale young Lady in white negligee rests in the arms of her husband (?) himself crying (tears are painted on his face) . All around the miniature, the other members of the family testify of diverse feelings going of desepoire to bewilderment. In the center of this composition in  V is a young man dressed in black, real central character of the painting. His hands make gestures over the young woman's body. Only the man whose tears flow on his cheeks, looks at the artist (and us), witnesses and spectators of this tragedy.

The lividness of the unconscious young woman and the immense sorrow of the protagonists, seem to indicate that she just died, what underlines the gesture of the central character, the left hand (over the body, turned to the ground, and the right hand, over the face, rising towards the sky.

Nevertheless, some details are strange. So, if we attended at the last moments of Mrs de X., why isn't  she in the center of composition ? Why isn't she shown in her bed as it was usualy shown at this time (we do not die on a sofa !). The central sitter is in black but it is not priest's dress. His gesture is not the one of the extreme unction. And which strange idea that the sponsor of this miniature (the man in green who looks towards the painter) is wanted immortalized this scene.

Are we in the presence of a session of magnetism, so fashionable at that time, with Frantz-Anton Mesmer or the count de Saint Germain? We find many engraving of these sessions with the same gestures and where the Ladies faint. And this could explain why the central character is this man in black with the curiously enlightened face.

The miniature is monogrammed to the right but letters are incomprehensible. It's a pity because this painting is a masterpiece of composition and drawing. We know to what extent the painting of hands was difficult for the artists, here, eleven hands are perfectly drawn. The expressions, the lighting of faces... everything is mastered in the perfection... but by whom?

CONDITION: Very good original condition