The Family Prayer
Oil on copper
The Frick Art and Historical Center, Pittsburgh
This finely executed copper may represent a model of pious behavior, with the children following the example of their more modestly dressed nursemaid in reciting a blessing before eating: the bowl cannot be filled until a prayer of thanks has been offered to God. While it is tempting to see this painting as a group portrait—albeit with a moralizing message—it is also possible that the scene is imagined, or a pastiche of separate studies of figures depicted from life. The brushwork is characteristic of Antoine, from the pointillist rendering of the lace, to the single stroke of white suggesting a reflection in each of the eyes, to the heavily accented hair of the boy at right, which courses with energy.
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