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 Beauty Standards 
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
I don't think one can assume that any of the portraits painted in this period or earlier contain the true likeness of the portrait 's subject. Many of the portraits were prepared from memory or from descriptions of the subject from those who actually met the individual. The portrait of Marie-Antoinette as a child has her looking rather bizarre, but her uneven hairline, Hapsburg pout and other flaws are emphasized. Louis, on the other hand, looks rather porcine in early portraits but appears quite handsome in his 'official' portrait.

Judging by the number of portraits of Marie Antonette, I find it imossible to think she sat for days posing for portraits and there is no way the children could spend more than a few minutes 'posing'. A lot has been said of Marie Antoinette's porcelain, lovely skin--several portraits, in order to get the skin image noticed, paint her with an almost corpse-like complexion.

Also, some of the artists minimized the subject's unflattering characteristics (Louis' official portrait) both to feed the ego and ensure future portrait work.


Mon Dec 21, 2009 7:17 am
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Well... Do you really think Louis looks porcine ?

Image

Isn't he hot ? Look at those lips... so cute, so sensual...

With regard to Marie Antoinette, it is quite possible to imagine how she looked like from all of her portraits. Furthermore, many of these artists were honoured with the queen herself poising for them, Vigée Lebrun, Kusharsky, for instance...

When comparing those pics to descriptions made by witnesses, you can come to a relevant representation of our dear queen.

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Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:28 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
PIM!! So happy to have you back here!! :angel8:

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Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:14 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Me too!!!! Welcome back! :D

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Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:33 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Pimprenelle--you chose Louis' 'official' portrait in which he is presented as quite handsome, lucious, cute lips and all. If you check his portraits as an adolescent or post-coronation, I think his looks are porcine. It's just my opinion about a trivial matter of no importance.

We all have a sense of empathy, wonder, curiosity, pity, historical importance and countless other reasons that brought us to this website. I don't think it is helpful to treat the Royal Couple with hyperbole. Marie Antoinette was pretty; she wasn't the most gorgeous, the most royal, the most gracious. Louis was physically unattractive. He wasn't the most handsome, etc. Make no mistake, I think history has slandered Louis and Antoinette. They were horribly treated by cruel and sadistic men and women. I think Louis was an honest, fair man who would have made a good king in time. Antoinette unfortunately would never be accepted by the French as their Queen because of her birth. We at times tend to portray them as almost dieties.

Opinions and ideas that differ from the popularly held views of the 'in crowd' are about as popular as toe nail fungus. I think that is what makes the site interesting and should serve as a topic for friendly discussion and not as a devisive format for taking sides.

I have been quite ill for several weeks and have not contributed to the site for quite a long time. I join Rosalie and Delucat Fleur in welcoming you back from your absence, Pimprenelle.


Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:36 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Yes welcome back Pim, we have not heard from you for such a very long time! And a happy new year to everyone here at the forum, in my part of the world we are already 10 hours in but I know for some of you the clock has yet to chime midnight :)

But to the topic at hand! Is it completely out of the realms of possibility for some of us to find Louis less than handsome or attractive and yet still admire his work and what he attempted to achieve as King and leader? I must raise my hand as one who is not so enamoured of Louis phyisique or face. Even the portraits which some of you point to as showing some good looks are not to my taste.

I went back to the original post here to see where we had ended up. Oceane asked for our thoughts on how beauty standards have shifted from then until now. My view on that is that modern beauty standards being what they are (for better or for worse) I don't think either Louis or Antoinette would make the cover of a fashion magazine or could be considered to have the movie star looks that our modern society generally accepts as the standard of beauty to which we aspire. Whether we as individuals find them attractive or not is one thing, whether they are objectively handsome by the standards of the day is quite another.

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Thu Dec 31, 2009 11:13 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Adrienne wrote:
But to the topic at hand! Is it completely out of the realms of possibility for some of us to find Louis less than handsome or attractive and yet still admire his work and what he attempted to achieve as King and leader? I must raise my hand as one who is not so enamoured of Louis phyisique or face. Even the portraits which some of you point to as showing some good looks are not to my taste.


I agree Adrienne!

Adrienne wrote:
I went back to the original post here to see where we had ended up. Oceane asked for our thoughts on how beauty standards have shifted from then until now. My view on that is that modern beauty standards being what they are (for better or for worse) I don't think either Louis or Antoinette would make the cover of a fashion magazine or could be considered to have the movie star looks that our modern society generally accepts as the standard of beauty to which we aspire.


I find a difference, however, between Louis and Antoinette. I don't find Louis attractive, neither for the standard of his time nor for today standards, while I fin Marie-Antoinette still a beautiful woman. What I see in her is not a perfect beauty in the classical sense, but an attractiveness coming both from good looks and a special something...I can't really explain what it is, but I find a special charme in her deep eyes and her graceful figure.

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Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:29 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Rosalie- an appropriate word to describe that, "Je ne sais quoi" that Antoinette posessed yet defies adequate English could be 'dignity'. This is a quality that cannot be learned since it involves so many characteristics performed at such a high levels: deportment, comprehensive knowledge of etiquette, effective communication skills, flawless self presentation and so on. Another possible word may be 'charisma'.

What ever the word may be, Antoinette had it. Her governesses and her mother did not teach her these things, they just helped her use them effectvely. It's rather like the difference between (I hope I don't offend anyone by what I'm about to say!!) Princess Margaret Rose and Elizabeth II. Her Majesty is every inch a Queen; she was born for her royal role. Her sister, on the other hand, demanded all royal perogtives. Many she ignored when inconvenient; others she twisted to suit her purpose. No amount of teaching would have made a difference. She lacked the ongoing dignity and behavior of a Marie Antoinette; the essential elements were not there.


Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:27 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Yes let's say she had "class", coupled with excellent grooming and the ancient bloodline of the Holy Roman Empire flowing in her veins.

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Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:07 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Artois wrote:
Rosalie- an appropriate word to describe that, "Je ne sais quoi" that Antoinette posessed yet defies adequate English could be 'dignity'. This is a quality that cannot be learned since it involves so many characteristics performed at such a high levels: deportment, comprehensive knowledge of etiquette, effective communication skills, flawless self presentation and so on. Another possible word may be 'charisma'.

What ever the word may be, Antoinette had it. Her governesses and her mother did not teach her these things, they just helped her use them effectvely. It's rather like the difference between (I hope I don't offend anyone by what I'm about to say!!) Princess Margaret Rose and Elizabeth II. Her Majesty is every inch a Queen; she was born for her royal role. Her sister, on the other hand, demanded all royal perogtives. Many she ignored when inconvenient; others she twisted to suit her purpose. No amount of teaching would have made a difference. She lacked the ongoing dignity and behavior of a Marie Antoinette; the essential elements were not there.


I definitely agree Artois!

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Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:07 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Now, I'm a wee bit confused. If louis xvi was so slim and good-looking back when he was younger ( which I believe he was), then why did Madame Du Barry call him a "fat, ill-bred boy"?


Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:39 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
oceane wrote:
It strikes me as strange that Louis XVI's brothers were thought to be better looking than he was. In my opinion he always won in that department compared to them. I find that alot of people agree with me but it would't have been the case some 300 years ago. It is the same thing with Marie- Antoinette, except back then she was seen as a beauty queen (LOL). I still think she's lovely but public opinion seems to find her plain. Doesnanyone have any thoughts on that , or any insight on how beauty standards have shifted from then until now ? Thanks 8)


I totally agree with you one that one. I think he was handsome with his pretty green eyes. I could not believe M.A. was not happy with his looks and she perferd ferson and his so called romance novel good looks. Yeah people today dont concider our beloved queen beautiful but i think she was stunning back then she had fair creamy skin which was beauty in the 18th century not to mention her couture clothes. :violin:

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 4:17 am
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
I think its difficult to see Louis XVI as good looking. He was somewhat overweight, no doubt about it, but mainly large framed and ungainly. In a man, and I think that 100% of women here will agree, carriage and dress sense count for a lot, as well as charisma. He had none of these, and so for someone like MA, so aware of 'la chose artistique', he was a non starter.

As for the Queen, many contemporaries agree that she was not a classic beauty, but that she had beautiful attributes. And she had majesty, very important after all for a sovereign! The best description one can find is no doubt that of the Comte de Tilly in his mémoires. Vigée Lebrun writes of her incomparable complexion, praise indeed from a portrait painter, for whom complexion is a constant obsession.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:42 am
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
Madame Campan stated that Louis XVI had regular features indeed. But he had twitches. His voice was notably unpleasant (especially when he was angry or moved), He was never dressed properly and was rather graceless. I also think as a woman that beauty is unimportant for a man. Seduction has a lot do with charisma, which is conveyed by his gestures, his gait, his voice... All the things Louis XVI, in spite of undeniable qualities of heart, was devoid of.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:11 pm
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Post Re: Beauty Standards
I fully agree with you!

I think the affection that MA felt for the King at the end of his life, that grew into something ressembling a very deep love, was of a totally different kind to that which she felt for Fersen, was indeed tinged with guilt and was the result of her realizing just what a good if frustrating person the father of her children was.

It was more akin to the love of a sister for a brother, or of an old friend..

One mustn't forget the slightly mysterious text of his will, when he states that he hopes that she will forgive him his faults, just as he forgives anything that she may have to reproach herself about in her conduct towards him...

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:29 pm
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