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A fine example of Greuze’s modern moral genre subjects, 'The Broken Mirror' is a parable of carelessness, where the disarray of the interior and girl’s dress reflects the disarray of her morals. The fact that the girl in the present picture laments the loss of her virginity before marriage is emphasised by the yapping dog, a common symbol of carnal desire in eighteenth-century French painting, and the ringless hand that draws our attention in the centre of the picture. The picture belonged to Boucher’s friend, Randon de Boisset, who refused to lend it to the Salon of 1763.

The Wallace Collection



The Broken Mirror




oil on canvas


H 56 x W 45.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1845; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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