Here we have “The Broken Pitcher,” by Jean-Baptiste Greuze who died almost 200 years ago on 4 March 1805. A French painter, he was born at Tournus, Burgundy on 21 August 1725. Recognised for his early artistic ability, he became initially a pupil of an artist from Lyon, and then from the Royal Academy in Paris. His work was slow to appreciate, but by 1755, the sculptor, Pigalle (and you thought it was just the name of a famous Metro station in Paris) liked his exhibited piece. It took Greuze eight years before he reached a successful reputation and as testament to his art, many examples of his works are part of the Louvre Gallery (Paris) collection.
The Broken Pitcher often appeals to many with warmth and great verve. Some interpreters have suggested that the girl’s apparent regret over the broken pitcher on her arm represents the sorrow and disgrace over the apparent loss of her virginity. Metaphorically, the pitcher represents the female sexual organs and the disheveled dress and exposure of her left breast symbolizes the loss. Apparently this painting was originally owned by Madame du Barry, the mistress of France’s King Louis XV.
Like it, or loathe it, it’s also up to you to decide whether you think this is “pitcher perfect” – or not.