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A pet dog was often used to imply fidelity in eighteenth-century painting, although Greuze invests the relationship of mistress and pet with a morbid intensity in keeping with the late eighteenth-century cult of sensibility. An indication of Greuze’s ambitions in these works is given in a letter he wrote to Prince Yussupov in 1790. The Prince had acquired a similar picture, in which the girl embraces a dove rather than a dog.
oil on canvas
52.2 x 42.3 cm
acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1864; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897