Misse and Turlu, Louis XV’s greyhounds

Misse and Turlu by Jean Baptiste Oudry - Château de Fontainebleau

Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755)
H. 127 cm;L. 160 cm
Oil on canvas
Château de Fontainebleau, Inv 7022
Gallery of Splendours

Set on a rocky promontory in front of a landscape bathed in a soft light at the end of the day, Misse and Turlu, two English greyhounds from Louis XV’s pack, look in opposite directions. Just like Louis XIV, Louis XV liked to have his favourite dogs depicted in paintings and it is to Jean-Baptiste Oudry that he entrusted most of these works. Very involved in the process, the King even came to attend the sitting of these two animals in March 1725. 

This first portrait of royal dogs stands out for the elegance of the animals’ lines, the slender alert paws of Misse and the crossed paws of Turlu in a princely posture. The painter breathes life into these dogs with an expressive, focused gaze, while, in the centre of the composition, a broad rose bush gives the entire composition the allure of a fashion portrait. The porphyry vase, which closes the scene on the left, evokes the luxurious sculptures and objets d’art in the royal collections and bears witness to the care taken by the painter in staging the composition. The painting, completed in 1726, was presented at Versailles and then quickly sent to the Palais de Compiègne, another of the King’s hunting lodges, where it was displayed above a doorway in the King’s chamber.

2012, Paris, Grand Palais, Animal Beauty.
2003-2004, Château de Fontainebleau;Château de Versailles, Oudry’s AnimalsCollection of the Dukes of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

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