28 March 2007

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun's Marie Antoinette and her children, 1787.

Vigée-Le Brun is yet another french woman that I really wish I had learned more about a long time ago. Unlike some of the other 'forgotten French ladies', it is easy to find information about Vigée-Le Brun. I've linked to a fantastic web-resource where you can view a copy of nearly every painting she ever made. It is nice that, while we know almost nothing about some of the marvelous lady-painters that France produced around the turn of the 19th century, there are others who have had their stories told.

Vigée-Le Brun was (as the image here indicates) a well regarded portrait painter and in the good graces of the French royal family. They and the aristocracy kept her busy until the French Revolution swept them all away. Worried that her connections with them were a bit too tight, Vigée-Le Brun left France for Italy, Russia, and Austria (later she would leave again for Switzerland). One admirer wrote that she "knew and painted the portraits of just about every prominent figure in Europe and Russia from approximately 1770 to 1835." Not bad.

She was a member of artists' acadamies and societies around Europe. First the Académie de Saint Luc in 1774, then Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1783, the Accademia di San Luca in Rome, the Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Petersburg, and later the Swiss Société pour l'Avancement des Beaux-Arts. A cosmopolitan, if there ever was one.

Read more here.


Dad said...

Wow, five million portraits, four mountains and one tree. She could not have started out painting that well. What was her early work? Only people, people, people. Not even one bowl of fruit? How did she keep from going crazy just painting people? Was the money good? Did she really just enjoy painting people?

Vatti said...

I sometimes forget that before the advent of photography, this was the only way one's likeness could get recorded. I suppose one could be very busy at it, as this artist certainly was.

Dad said...

Just trying this out to see if I can get online with my Dad account.