Jaques Philippe Caresme

Jaques Philippe Caresme

1734 - Paris - 1796

« The fall of a beautiful woman»
Oil on canvas 
France, 18. century 
Measurements: 94 cm x 74 cm


This amusing genre painting by Jaques Philippe Caresme is a typical example of the group of motifs he treated with excellence, with gallant, lascivious, erotic, but also mythological and allegorical motifs. Caresme, like almost all Old Masters, used repeated sections in various contexts and he himself often painted copies of his pictures (so-called "autograph replicas") for a number of clients.

The scene depicts a funny event on a way home. A young lady, not wanting to undertake the arduous walk, has hired the services of a donkey (mule) but falls to the ground, her dress riding up and baring her thighs, a slightly frivolous scene.

Aristocratic ladies, but by no means all, have worn pantaloons on horseback rides (equivalent to cloth pants), and when they didn't wear them, as here, the so-called "revealing falls" occurred. Famous ones are that of Sophie Arnould and that of Mademoiselle Lambercier. Many such can be found in the sources. This was even reflected in the poetry. The poem "STANCES SUR UNE DAME DONT LA JUPPE fut retroussée en versant dans uncarrosse, à la campagne" was written by Vincent Voiture (1597 - 1648) and contains the verses:

Il est vray que je fus surpris.
Le feu passa dans mesprits:
Et mon cœur autrefois superbe,
Humble, se rendit à l'Amour,
Quand il vit vostre cu sur l'herbe,
Faire honte aux rayons du jour.

It's true I was surprised. The fire went through my spirit: And my otherwise so haughty heart Became humble and surrendered to love When it saw your ....... in the grass The daylight shame.

Provenance: Marie Therese Comtesse de la Béraudière

Literature: www.bmlisieux.com/curiosa/voiture.htmCecil Saint-Laurent: Customs History of Female Lingerie. Hieronimi, Bonn 1968, pp. 94 ff; 100

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