Dec. 2 Art Minute: Louis Léopold Boilly, ‘S’il Vous Plaît’

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Image of Louis Léopold Boilly's oil painting 'S’il Vous Plaît'

Louis Léopold Boilly (French, 1761–1845), S’il Vous Plaît (Please). Oil on wood panel, 1790. 15 7/8 by 12 5/8 inches. Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1975.58. In the special exhibition The Libbey Dolls: Fashioning the Story, Gallery 18

Through colors, styles, fabrics, and renderings, artists often use the representation of dress to give us clues to define nobility, significance, gender expectations, historical context, or socio–economic status of those depicted. Though green was often a color associated with the counter–revolutionary movement in France, the figures in Louis Léopold Boilly’s S’il Vous Plaît wear the modest dress reflecting the civil upheaval of the time. As expensive fabrics and trimmings were associated with the hated French aristocracy and therefore dangerous to wear in the political climate of the time, many aristocrats adapted the style of the revolutionaries.

Known for his depictions of everyday life, Boilly here renders the garments so precisely that commonly used fabrics of the time like taffeta and linen are easily recognizable.


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