Today I would like to share ‘The Indiscreet Man’ by French painter Louis-Léopold Boilly, whose work thoroughly documented middle-class social life, and he certainly wasn’t shy about depicting the risqué. In this scene a gentleman appears to be visiting one of the two women, and we can assume he’s not simply stopping by for tea. Scanning intimate articles tossed about the room, is this obviously the ladies’ personal quarters. Whatever takes place here—that’s between them and our wide eyed fellow sneaking in the back door.
Those details aside, what captured my attention was the bright expression on the foremost woman’s face. Whatever her role within this scene or the circumstances involved, she appears genuinely happy—giving the viewer the sort of wholesome smile which adds a whimsical quality to this suggestive painting. We feel urged to identify with her. With this in mind, I believe Louis-Léopold Boilly had his sights aimed beyond making a simple moral judgment in his ‘Indiscreet Man’.