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A man and woman embrace in a kiss on left, someone plays a stringed instrument on right.

The seated couple twist while embracing, the man supports the woman’s back as she leans back toward center, her right arm hangs limp. Her long dress and his robes flow dramatically around their bodies. The seated musician looks at the couple while he plays a long string instrument on his lap, his crossed leg points toward the couple, he wears ruffled collar and knickers. The scene is set in a landscape with old tree on right, smaller leafy tree on left, puffy clouds in background. A small dog looks up at the scene from lower right.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Benoît Audran the Younger, French (Paris 1700 - 1772 Paris)
After Jean-Antoine Watteau, French (Valenciennes 1684 - 1721 Nogent-sur-Marne)
The Surprise
Other Titles
Original Language Title: La surprise / Occupat Amplexu
Series/Book Title: Recueil Jullienne
Work Type
18th century
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Etching and engraving
sheet: 62.5 × 47 cm (24 5/8 × 18 1/2 in.)
plate: 37.8 × 28.6 cm (14 7/8 × 11 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, left: A. Watteau pinxit.
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, right: B. Audran Sculp.
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, left and right: LA SURPRISE. / Gravée d'après le Tableau original peint par / Watteau de même grandeur. // OCCUPAT AMPLEXU. / Juxta Exemplar ejusdem magnitudinis à / Watteavo depictum.
  • inscription: in plate, lower margin, centered: Tiré du Cabinet de Mr. de Jullienne / a Paris Avec Privilege du Roy -


Recorded Ownership History
Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster, Eaton Hall, Cheshire, by 1884, by descent, sold [through Christie's, London, July 15, 2015, lot 172]; to private collection, United Kingdom, sold [through C. G. Boerner LLC, New York], to; Harvard Art Museums, 2017

State, Edition, Standard Reference Number

Standard Reference Number
Dacier & Vuaflart 31

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Richard Norton Memorial Fund
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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