Skip to main content
A Girl with a Lamb
Jean-Baptiste Greuze
/

A young girl tenderly holds a lamb, which is decorated with a blue ribbon. Her loose-fitting white chemise has slipped off her shoulder. The girl and lamb occupy the immediate foreground, making them seem close to us and giving the picture a feeling of intimacy.

The lamb here probably symbolises innocence, patience, gentleness and humility. However, Greuze’s painting sends mixed messages as although these qualities are also suggested by the girl’s youth and seemingly innocent gaze, her bare shoulder and provocatively parted lips suggest a certain knowing sensuality.

Greuze’s pictures of young women cuddling pets, implying their ability to feel emotion, relate to the eighteenth-century cult of ’sensibility' or sentiment fostered by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others. This painting is unfinished and is not a portrait. Greuze’s single-figure paintings were highly sought-after, relatively quick to produce, and made good money for him.

Key facts
Artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze
Artist dates 1725 - 1805
Full title A Girl with a Lamb
Date made before 1775
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 54.6 x 44.5 cm
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Mary Mohl, 1884
Inventory number NG1154
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo