Boy with Peaches
Maker: François Hubert Drouais , French, 1727 - 1775
Dimensions: 28 x 22 in. (71.1 x 55.9 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Adele S. Browning Memorial Collection, gift of Mildred Browning Green and Honorable Lucius Peyton Green
Object Number: 78.20.3
Label Text: In 1756, the year after his election to the Académie royale, Drouais was appointed court painter. In a royal household replete with young children, he quickly became known for his sensitive portraits of the dauphin and other royal children. Even Diderot, who disliked the artist's glossy style, admitted: "Drouais peint bien les petits enfants; il leur met dans les yeux de la vie, de la transparence, et l'humide, et le gras. . . . Ils semblent vous regarder et vous sourire même de près" (Drouais paints little children well. He puts life, transparency, humility, and charm in their eyes. . . . They seem to watch you and smile at you, even up close). When it appeared at the Salon of 1761, this portrait of the son of a magistrate was praised for its coloring and vivacity. Peaches traditionally symbolize truth, through the union of the heart (represented by the heart-shaped fruit) and the tongue (represented by the single leaf). In this portrait, Drouais may be alluding to the proverbial truths that come out of the mouths of babes.