1. The Gift (1788). Marguerite Gérard (French, 1761-1837). Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

    While one presumes that the gift for the lady is the flower bouquet in the basket on the table, it does not explain the dead fowl and rabbit on the floor. Perhaps the young man to the left is the lady’s son who has been hunting without permission. The gift of flowers and letter is his attempt to avoid discipline.

     
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    My mountain ancestors believed fresh meat from a hunting trip constituted a love offering. For people without great...
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