Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Favorite Vigee-Lebrun painting
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Author:  Therese [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 5:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Favorite Vigee-Lebrun painting

What is your favorite Vigee-Lebrun painting? Mine is of the queen with her children, getting the cradle ready for the new baby who died. The Queen's red velvet gown is a maternity dress with adjustable lacings in the front. Nearby is the cabinet for her jewels, to show that her children were her real jewels. By the time the painting was finished, baby Sophie had died and then Louis-Joseph, and the queen had the painting put away because it broke her heart to look at it.

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:30 pm ]
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Oh yes, dear Therese, the story of this painting is so moving... I love it too, our queen is so sad and so beautiful on it ! But seeing this empty cradle makes me shiver, especially with the little dauphin, already ill, pointing at it. The two dead children are on the same side, far from their mother, only Mousseline and Chou d'amour are with her, touching her... only these two will survive...

I can't choose between all these wonderful Vigée pictures ! I love my avatar, her face, her sweetness, her colours... and I adore the "à la rose"... I know it's not very original ! But it's perfection, in my opinion... Marie-Antoinette dressed in blue on this dark scenery, appearing to the light like a queen of the night...

Author:  Therese [ Sun Apr 02, 2006 8:51 pm ]
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Yes, I love your avatar and the "a la rose," too. They are all so lovely. lt it is hard to decide!!

Author:  Monsieur Royale [ Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:59 am ]
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I've always liked the one of Marie Antoinette in the loose satin dress with the rose. The one that was called unbecoming for a Queen of France.

Author:  Archiduque [ Wed Apr 26, 2006 6:52 pm ]
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It's hard to say which one's my favorite because I like several of them, but even if it's not too orginal I must say the "á la rose" portrait's always been my fave because it shows the Queen probably at the peak of her short life: her beauty was blossoming then, she was really happy with her children and probably with Axel together with Louis' undeniable love. And it also reflects both sides of her persona, as she looks majestatic and regal, but at the same time gentle, lively and beautiful.
Of course, the moving portrait of an older MA with her children, the ones left as Sophie did not live enough to be shown on the painting, is also very special. As it also is the "unbecoming" portrait with MA wearing a chemise gown, that loose piece of clothes that fitted her coloring, beauty and carnation so smoothly.
For those interested, if you don't know about it, there's a great site on Vigée-Lébrun's work with a complete exposition of her paintings at

Author:  Therese [ Wed Apr 26, 2006 8:19 pm ]
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I love the "a la rose," too, especially the puce dress and how it brings out the auburn of her hair even under the powder. Yes, Archiduque, it was a time when she was definitely happy with her husband and children, as well as many good friends like Gabrielle, Lamballe, the Prince de Ligne, and probably Count Fersen, as well.

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Fri Apr 28, 2006 9:45 am ]
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You mean a less known version of this portrait, don't you ? Oh... I also love these paintings showing her red hair under the powder ! French people hated that so much, and they mocked her so badly for having this hair colour ! Actually, they laughed at her German accent, at her red hair, at her sometimes spleen mood they still call "germanic heaviness" ! They just hated all what Antoinette deeply was !

Author:  Therese [ Fri Apr 28, 2006 5:35 pm ]
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Yes, I have different picture postcards of different versions of the painting, and in one her hair looks a bit auburn, but not as much as in some others.

Author:  Aurora [ Wed May 31, 2006 6:51 am ]
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There is something very moving to me also in the portrait of Marie Antoinette in the blue and white velvet dress. She is sitting alone, very royale, but in the same time the athmosphere is deeply private and melancholic. I remember it is dated 1788. Imagine, that this was the real queen just before the revolution and compare it to the popular evil and stupid myth...

Author:  Axel von Fersen [ Wed May 31, 2006 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Queen Marie Antoinette in blue velvet 1788

My favorite Vigee LeBrun painting of Marie Antoinette is the last one she did in France before the Revolution.

Marie Antoinette en velors bleu - in blue velvet, 1788.

She sits alone in a great chair large pillow under her feet, her pointed shoe peaks out from her great dress. Her skirt is shimmering white silk lined in sable. The great train of her dress blue velvet as is the remainder of her dress, with matching royal blue satin hat and great white plumes above.

Her right hand holds a book and her left rest on a pillow. A vase of flowers and her crown not far off on the apolstered table. She is seated in Versailles palace with great marble coulmns behind her.

She sits erect and confident. The painting speaks majesty to me. This is Queen Marie Antoinette in her glory and splendor before the Revolution.

I have read other commentary on this painting, but did want to add my compliment to you Therese.

What is your favorite Vigee LeBrun painting of Marie Antoinette?
THAT is a wonderful topic. I invite you to please re-post this with my group - ... ntoinette/

We have had many image posts at my group over the years. I welcome those posts - and we have not had one in a while. Your post and this thread as well as all of the comments above would be a wonderful addition for us.

Thank you,

Author:  Therese [ Wed May 31, 2006 3:08 pm ]
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Thanks, Axel, I will.

Author:  Therese [ Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:03 pm ]
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Madame Vigee-Lebrun, during her exile in Russia, did a sketch of the queen that is on Claudia's site, in the gallery, Now you all can scold me for my hagiography but I must say I find the sketch very moving, for it shows the queen going to heaven, with Louis XVI and the two children who died, welcoming her. Madame Vigee-Lebrun not only painted Antoinette over 20 times, which must have afforded her a glimpse into her character, but she was a friend as well. The little sketch, which never became a painting, captures how the queen's friend and portrait painter saw her and how she grieved her passing.

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:21 pm ]
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Oh, yes, Therese... I cannot think ot this painting without feeling like crying. Louis XVI waiting for his wife ascending to the sky, and these two children like little angels welcoming her... It's so moving... She, her hair floating on her shoulders, like an apparition, like a goddess...

I think madame Vigée-Lebrun remained for long tortured by this project of a posthume portrait of Antoinette, till she made this picture. A wonderfully touching one... The one made by a true friend, you're right, dear Therese...

Author:  Therese [ Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:25 pm ]
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Yes, I think it was perhaps too painful for Madame Vigee-Lebrun to complete. Like a true artist, she had a tender heart.

Author:  Pimprenelle [ Sat Jun 03, 2006 2:36 pm ]
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Furthermore, there is a special link between the artist and her model. Elisabeth and Antoinette worked together on these paintings, they studied costumes, poises, articles, colours... Nothing was random, I guess. I feel this collaboration very strongly in the "à la rose" portrait. With all those blue, black, sapphir, diamond, colours and these offered roses, madame Vigée-Lebrun painted a "queen of the night", a queen of mystery, a softly smiling ode to feminity.

I guess this portrait is Antoinette's most famous. This means that the artist and her muse are bound forever by posterity.

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