The Chocolate Girl

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For the music single, see Chocolate Girl.
For the film, see The Chocolate Girl (film).
The Chocolate Girl
French: La Belle Chocolatière
Jean-Etienne Liotard - The Chocolate Girl - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist Jean-Étienne Liotard
Year circa 1743-44
Type Pastel on parchment
Dimensions 82.5 cm × 52.5 cm (32.5 in × 20.7 in)
Location Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden
Version in the National Museum in Warsaw and a similar girl by Liotard (1754) in La Prima Colazione (The breakfast).

The Chocolate Girl (French: La Belle Chocolatière, German: Das Schokoladenmädchen) is one of the most prominent pastels of Swiss artist Jean-Étienne Liotard, showing a chocolate-serving maid. The girl carries a tray with a porcelain chocolate cup and a glass of water. Liotard's contemporaries classed The Chocolate Girl as his masterpiece.[1]

On 3 February 1745 Francesco Algarotti bought the painting in Venice from Liotard. In an unknown year (between 1747 and 1754?) the painting became part of the collection of August III of Poland. In a letter dated 13 February 1751 to his friend Pierre-Jean Mariette he wrote:

Since 1855 the painting with the serving maid from Vienna, who might have been a certain Nannerl Baldauf, has been exposed in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.

Around 1900, La Belle Chocolatière served as inspiration for the commercial illustration of the "nurse" that appeared on Droste's cocoa tins. This was most probably a work of the commercial artist Jan (Johannes) Musset. According to Droste, "The illustration indicated the wholesome effect of chocolate milk and became inextricably bound with the name Droste."[3]

In 1862 the American Baker's Chocolate Company obtained the rights to use the painting.[4] During World War II the Germans transported it to Königstein Fortress.[5] The delicate painting managed to survive the cold and dampness in Königstein Fortress and brought back to Dresden after the Germans retreated from advancing Soviet troops.

Theories concerning the girl's head-dress run from a cap cover to an echo of the colourful regional caps.[6] The girl's apron features a small bodice.

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