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The Conversation

The Vanmour School

Oil on canvas 44 x 62 cm
First half of the 18th century

This work is part of a four-painting series by the Vanmour School featured in the exhibition depicting a genre scene. The painting, which reflects the domestic life of upper-class members of society, also includes a central fountain that evokes mosque architecture. Again, it is based on a Vanmour painting, which has survived to date. With the exception of small variations in the patterns of the sofa pillows, the composition of the paintings is identical. Nonetheless, when the paintings are studied more carefully, differences in figure styles, brushstroke technique, and details become evident. A radiographic comparison of the two paintings conducted by Paolo Spezzani in 1993 shed light to the technical and stylistic differences between the work of Vanmour and his school. There exists another copy of the same composition created by Antonio or Francesco Guardi for the Count of Schulenburg.  In yet another, similar painting by Vanmour in the Rijksmuseum collection, the figures are depicted while playing cards.  “The Conversation” was exhibited in the “Turquerie” exhibition in Paris in 1911.