Charcoal and pastel on laid paper, approx. 12" x 9"
An expatriate painter, noted for figure painting of peasants as well as Classical, Biblical scenes, mythology subjects, and still lifes, William Babcock was born in Boston, Massachusetts but lived most of his life in France. In 1847, he became one of the first Americans to study with Thomas Couture in Paris.
He then went to the village of Barbizon where, along with other American artists, he did peasant genre paintings. He became good friends with Jean-Francois Millet, a leading Barbizon painter, whose figure painting much influenced Babcock.
Babcock introduced William Morris Hunt to Millet, and, in turn, Hunt became a strong exponent of the Barbizon School of painting in America.
Although he continued to live in Paris and died in that city, Babcock had a good market for his work in Boston. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has a large collection of his works.
His painting has been described as having a "strong poetic strain" and a "Venetian feeling for form, color and light, in a manner reflecting Couture and Titian.