Miniature of Marie Antoinette naked?
Would this miniature represent the young Queen of France, only dressed in a sheer veil? This is the intriguing question begged by the superb exhibition of late 18th century miniatures at Philip Mould Gallery in London.
The exhibition Miniatures from the Time of Marie Antoinette offers an exceptional opportunity to view the delicate treasures of Tansey Collection, kept in Germany and usually closed to the public.
So by all means if you happen to be in London, and have any interest in 18th century art and history, pay the Philip Mould gallery a visit. Be prompt too, because the show closes very soon, on 13 November!
To go back to the alleged Marie Antoinette miniature, what are the grounds for the identification of the sitter with the Queen? For one thing, it is the work of court miniaturist Ignazio Pio Vittoriano Campana, known to have painted portraits of ladies of Marie Antoinette’s close circle.
More to the point, the nautical character of the work is obvious (more…)
Marie-Antoinette “en gaulle” by Vigee-Lebrun
Truth be told, Marie-Antoinette as a teenager and young woman very much enjoyed the outrageous hairstyles of her time, and during all of her years at Versailles she had to wear the court dress for all formal occasions.
But it is true that, as her taste matured, she came to appreciate the freedom of simple linen dresses. She even had her portrait painted in one of those by her favorite artist, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (left.)
Alas, that painting, to our modern eye far more modest than the low-cut court gowns, created a full-blown scandal: the Queen had herself painted in her chemise!
Imagine, to have an idea of the uproar at the time, the stunned reaction if we were to behold a portrait of the First Lady in her undergarments (more…)