Pierre Louis Moreau-Desproux, The Masked Ball (Le Bal Masqué), 1782, Gift of Murray S. Danforth, Jr.
Pierre Louis Moreau-Desproux
Jean-Michel Moreau le jeune
The Masked Ball (Le Bal Masqué)
Jean-Michel Moreau le jeune, printmaker
French, 1741-1814 After Pierre Louis Moreau-Desproux, designer
French, 1727 - 1793 The Masked Ball (Le Bal Masqué), 1782 Etching Plate: 52.6 x 39.9 cm (20 11/16 x 15 11/16 inches) Gift of Murray S. Danforth, Jr. 50.313
The birth of the Dauphin (heir to the French throne) to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of France in October 1781 was a significant event, and the king spared no expense in the planning of a feast, masked ball, and fireworks in the city of Paris to honor his new son. To accommodate the banquet and ball, the civic organizers spent two months building a temporary structure adjacent to the Hôtel de Ville. The temporary gallery, shown as the setting of this print, was painted with simulated colored marbles, lapis, and gold, while crystal chandeliers were hung with flowers. On the day of the feast, the queen rode throughout the city, and then arrived at the banquet hall to meet the king, where she dined with seventy-eight guests. Accounts relate, however, that few people actually received their food because the waiters could not get to the table. The ball, which took place two days later, was intended for invited guests, but, according to contemporary accounts, a throng of uninvited commoners inundated the hall, heading straight to the buffets. The king and queen made an unexpected appearance (the scene shown here), causing further uproar.