Marie-Antoinette at the Grand Palais: a major exhibition
Yes, I went to the Grand Palais this afternoon, and yes, it is wonderful! I half expected that someone had simply thrown together objects I had seen at the Carnavalet Museum or in Versailles. Not so. I discovered many objects I did not know.
Just an example: in one of the rooms, you have three different busts of Marie-Antoinette as a grown woman displayed together, from different angles. I had seen individual busts of the Queen, in particular the famous one by Houdon in Versailles, but I had never experienced anything like this. Marie-Antoinette simply came to life before my eyes!
I felt exactly like Gabrielle, my heroine, when she first met Marie-Antoinette: if ever a woman looked like a queen, this one did. Her nose was prominent, aquiline, far more so than in any of her painted portraits, and her head was thrown back in a proud, willful fashion. A physically impressive, imposing woman. I was able to imagine what it must have felt to find oneself in her presence.