“La Camargo Dancing” is a luminous celebration of the pleasures of an impromptu party in a park. This work features a portrait of Mademoiselle Camargo, a popular dancer at the Paris Opera. The painting would have been perfectly in step with the playful tone of French society at that time. Who would have thought that the artist, Nicolas Lancret, had been born under the sign of stable Capricorn? Capricorns are known for their hard-working and serious qualities, yet Lancret joins in the fun: the figure at the extreme left looking over his shoulder at us is almost certainly a self-portrait. This is a sure sign that he, too, loved a good party. Happy birthday to Nicolas Lancret!
Nicolas Lancret, “La Camargo Dancing,” c. 1730, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Andrew W. Mellon Collection