"Have No Fear, My Good Friend"
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Jean-Michel Moreau le jeune
French, Paris, 1775
Pen and brown ink and brown wash
10 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.

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Pregnant with her first child and apprehensive, a young woman reclines on a daybed in a mirrored alcove. Facing her across the couch, her friend leans forward and reassures her: "The moment [the birth] is over, you won't give it a thought. . . . I have had four children and am none the worse for it." The standing priest bolsters her with the words that form the drawing's title: "Have no fear, my good friend!"

Jean-Michel Moreau le jeune made this drawing as a finished study for an engraving in the celebrated series Monument du costume of 1776. With a plot loosely structured around the childhood and early marriage of a young man, Moreau depicted a variety of events and illustrated the most fashionable clothing to wear for each.

The series reflects the social and moral behavior of the 1700s, but it also forms a vivid record of contemporary taste. The elegantly cut garments, ornate hairstyles, opulent textiles, delicate flowers, and expensive furniture and porcelain reflect the wealth and position of this social circle. Moreau's precise drawing style, focused on brilliantly rendered details and great delicacy of handling, suited both the domestic theme and its setting.

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