This morning I would like to share 'Return from the Ball' by French painter Henri Gervex. This piece is a good representation of what I refer to as the "After the Party" genre--scenes depicting subjects crying or consoling either themselves or a companion after a big social event, usually a nighttime affair like a ball or masquerade party. Attendees always have high expectations for these events, and it seems something always goes wrong. Either they drank too much and did something questionable, or their date somehow upset them. I guess weeping afterward at home was what folks did before technology gave them the capability to drunk-Instagram their frustrations to the world.
Anyway, Gervex's scene is fairly straight-forward. Out of the two dozen "After the Party" paintings I have gathered, I selected this work because I like the composition, and more importantly that it also features two subjects who I presume are a couple, satisfying my loose requirement for a love-themed Art of the Month of February entry. The woman, crouched while of long dress trails across the floor, seems absolutely deviatated, while the man, facing outward toward the viewer, seems at a total loss as to what he should do. Perhaps one of his actions upset her and he's figuring out his next course of action, or maybe her plight is something else entirely and he completely taken by surprise. Either way, tread gentley, my friend.