L’Amour Vaincu (Love Vanquished)

ca. 1736Charles Joseph NatoireFrench, 1700–1777oil on canvas31 15/16 in. × 60 11/16 in. (81.12 cm. × 154.15 cm.)

Gift of Miss Susan Dwight Bliss


Accompanying  Le Triomphe de L’Amour (The Triumph of Love), L’Amour Vaincu (Love Vanquished) is an allegorical painting by the French painter Charles Joseph Natoire and was originally part of a series of four commissioned by the Duc de Tallard, possibly for his recently built Paris residence the Hôtel du Maréchal Tallard. The series, known collectively as The History of Love, illustrates the waxing and waning of a love affair played out by a pair of allegorical figures: Love, embodied as cupid, and Love’s victim, a woman in classical dress. During his lifetime, Natoire was a leading painter in France and director of the French Academy in Rome. His paintings and designs in the Rococo style, popular during the reign of Louis XV (1715–1774), demonstrate the prominence of ancient myth and history in European culture.

The paintings would have originally been installed as just one component of an elaborately decorated room in an elite Parisian residence, where their subject matter would have been complimented by other paintings and furnishings. Their shape indicates that they would have been installed above the room’s doors. On close inspection, one can detect that the paintings were at some point extended in size, with canvas added and new sections painted in the landscape by a less expert hand. Such adaptations were not uncommon during installation, as the various artworks that made up a residence’s interior design would have been executed off site and often required modification to fit the spaces. The gilded frames were added later; in their original installation, the pieces would have been an integral part of the room’s décor and set within the ornate paneling of the walls.

—Sean P. Burrus

—Sean P. Burrus

Susan Dwight Bliss

Sole heir to wealthy financier George T. (1816–1901) and Jeanette Dwight Bliss (1852–1924), Susan Dwight Bliss was a New York collector and philanthropist. She inherited a sizeable collection of ancient Mediterranean and historic European art from her parents, prominent collectors of the Gilded Age, and continued to collect rare books, manuscripts, and historic art and artifacts herself.