By Gita May
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The key lady artist of her age, Elisabeth Vig? e Le Brun (1755—1842) exerted her massive appeal to turn into the buddy, after which reputable portraitist, of Marie Antoinette. although ecocnomic, this position made Vig? e Le Brun a public and debatable determine, and in 1789 it prompted her exile.
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Additional resources for Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun: The Odyssey of an Artist in an Age of Revolution
As in the Rubens painting, the setting is out of doors, enabling the artist to depict natural lighting, so that even the shadow of the subject’s plumed hat barely a¤ects the brightness of her skin. And in her portrait there is a real chapeau de paille (straw hat), unlike Rubens’s subject, whose hat was actually of beaver felt. To the dashing ostrich feather the artist added a wreath of freshly picked rustic ﬂowers. And where Susanna Lunden peers at us in a coyly indirect fashion, Vigée Le Brun directly meets our gaze with self-assurance, and her lips are partly open in an inviting smile.
In this capacity Le Brun managed to save a number of monuments and art works from destruction. In 1794, at the height of the Terror, Le Brun ﬁnally found himself forced to sue his wife for divorce on the grounds of desertion. One of the last acts of the Legislative Assembly was the law of September 20, 1792, establishing divorce. On June 3, 1794, a decree of divorce was issued for the Le Bruns. Yet when, in 1802, Vigée Le Brun ﬁnally returned to France after pursuing a phenomenally successful career as a portraitist all over Europe, for the sake of convenience she would resume living with her ex-husband in their house on the rue de Cléry.
He came from a West Indian family of planters that had amassed a vast sugar fortune, and his mistress, Yolande de Polignac, was the queen’s favorite. It was even whispered that the two women had a lesbian relationship. ² They both excelled at reciting their verses with great rhetorical e¤ect. Chamfort, the author of Maximes, witty and frequently cruel aphorisms about human frailties in the tradition of La Rochefoucauld, was another frequent guest, and he enjoyed adding zest and piquancy to the conversation with a provocative remark.
Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun: The Odyssey of an Artist in an Age of Revolution by Gita May