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Louis Léopold Boilly (French, 1761–1845), Please (S’il vous plaît), oil on wood panel, about 1790. 15 7/8 x 12 5/8 in. Gallery 28A
Boilly was a collector of artists such as Gerard Terborch and Gabriel Metsu, whose 17th-century Dutch scenes of domestic life are reflected in his own work. He painted everyday scenes of French life with exacting detail and skill, as can be seen in the carefully-executed folds and sheen of the woman’s dress. Boilly also utilized symbolism to tell his story, much like his Dutch predecessors. Here, we see a mother holding fruit, a symbol of fertility. A mandolin rests on the table along with some books and sheet music. Music was often used to symbolize love during his time period, and books represented education.
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