Mesdames Elisabeth, Henriette, Adélaïde and Victoire as the four elements

Now that we have become more familiar with the elder daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska, we can better appreciate this beautiful series by Nattier. It is typical of the artist’s allegorical portraits.

First we have Madame Elisabeth, Duchess de Parma as Earth. A woman of power.

Madame Elisabeth as Earth

Madame Elisabeth of France as Earth by Nattier

Then her twin, Madame Henriette, as Fire. A delicate, thoughtful beauty.

Madame Henriette as Fire

Madame Henriette as Fire by Nattier

And volatile, willful Madame Madame Adélaïde, as Air.

Madame Adelaide as Air Nattier

Madame Adelaide as Air by Nattier

Finally, Madame Victoire, as Water. Always a bit of sadness mixed in with her kindness.

Madame Victoire as Water Nattier

Madame Victoire as Water by Nattier

I have heard Nattier mentioned as a “forgotten” artist. Let’s bring him back to life, along with his models!

Links to the entire Daughters of Louis XV series:

Madame Elisabeth, Duchess of Parma
Madame Henriette
Madame Marie-Louise
Madame Adélaïde
Madame Victoire
Madame Sophie
Madame Thérèse
Madame Louise (Venerable Mother Thérèse de Saint-Augustin)

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18 Comments to “Mesdames Elisabeth, Henriette, Adélaïde and Victoire as the four elements”

  1. post ad says:

    If you keep posting well written articles similar to this then I am going to keep coming back to your weblog. Exceptional stuff.

  2. Catherine Delors says:

    Victoire, outdated? This is silly. Victoire is a beautiful, majestic, classic name, and that never goes out of style. You should be proud of it, especially if it is a family name.

  3. Catherine Delors says:

    Victoire, outdated? This is silly. Victoire is a beautiful, majestic, classic name, and that never goes out of style. You should be proud of it, especially if it is a family name.

  4. Vic says:

    My name is Victoire. I cannot tell you how excited I was on my first visit to France to hear it spoken correctly, and of my disappointment when someone informed me that my name was old-fashioned and outdated. Except for history book figures and my grandmother, aunt, and cousin (it is a family name, you see), I have yet to meet another Victoire.

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Aren’t they? Nattier strikes the perfect balance between portrait and allegory.

  6. Hummingbird says:

    I love these paintings. I always like it when real people are used to represent allegories…

    Very poetic.

  7. Catherine Delors says:

    Yes, Felio, it is beautiful, isn’t it? But I think my favorite one is Henriette.

  8. Felio Vasa says:

    These 4 painting are just gorgeous! If you study each one they all have sweet detail too. Like the peacock in Madame Adelaide’s portrait.

  9. Catherine Delors says:

    You are not alone, Elena!

  10. Fabulous! I love Nattier.

  11. Catherine Delors says:

    Lucy – Why is Nattier unfashionable? I really can’t tell. Yet I love all of this work, and this series on the daughters of Louis XV deepens my affection for him.

    Penny – I will be switching to Mac once my laptop dies (a matter of weeks, I am afraid.) Back to work on that Voluptuous Taste post!

  12. Penny says:

    almost everyone i know trashes any Microsoft product. my best freind in NY tells me he is switching to Linux i like to view your blog on both firefox and opera. now that you mention what is coming next, i will have to buy more picture frames. i am salivating.

  13. Lucy says:

    Oh Catherine, what a wonderful series. The sisters look so real- each truly depicting her element. I love Nattier, why is it that he’s so ‘forgotten’?

    I can’t wait for the Voluptuous Taste post!

  14. Catherine Delors says:

    You are a hero, Penny! I will never quite understand the wonders of blogging software. Today I noticed the pictures in this post look far better in Firefox than in Explorer, where they are sort of blurry. Why??

    If you are still hesitating for pictures to pick for your new apartment, wait another few days for my Voluptuous Taste post. There were so many great paintings in that show that I don’t know where to start.

  15. Penny Klein says:

    I am still looking for artwork for my new apt. just when I thought another Fragonard or Boucher, you put up Nattier. such a wealth of choices. very disconcerting.
    by the way i don’t know if it is my computer or your software but i had trouble loading the page and submitting the crinoline comment. not that it was interesting just that it took 5minutes.

  16. Catherine Delors says:

    Amy, Judith, I am delighted you share my pleasure in these images!

    Amy, I wonder whether this ancestor of yours was of French descent? And thanks for the link, Judith. Yes, Nattier is wonderful, but he is only part of an entire movement of French painting in the 18th century. I will post shortly on the exhibition that should be opening in Feb. in Portland. Gorgeous.

  17. Judith says:

    Catherine, What a delicious post. The images are glorious! I agreee Nattier is a “forgotten” artist, I will do a post and link us up. Let’s bring him back!
    Best Wishes!

  18. They are so very gorgeous…oh, to have such a talent as Nattier.

    I have to say that you are really making my interest in this time period grow even more and I love coming to your blog.

    Funny side note: I found out yesterday that my grandmother’s grandmothers’ name was Marie Antoinette Taylor. SO, not royalty, but the name is beautiful!

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