Saturday, June 14, 2008

Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Is one allowed to fall in love with a girl who died 166 years ago aged 87?

She was clearly a very colourful lady. She survived the French Revolution despite being very closely connected to the French Queen (25 portraits) and continued on to be a celebrated painter for the rest of her life. Her story is well documented over the internet where you can find much more about her than I can give you.

A quick summary of her life can be found in this pdf

It was she however that tells the story of her impending marriage:

On the way to the church I kept saying to myself ‘shall I say yes? Shall I say no?’ Alas, I said ‘yes’ and changed my old troubles for new ones’.

I owe the black and white self portrait and the above quotation to;

A book, Women Artists, Recognition and reappraisal from the early middle ages to the twentieth century, by Karen Petersen and j.j. Wilson was first published by The Woman’s Press Ltd, in Great Britain in 1978. Lorri Hagman also added a chapter on Lady Artists from China whose importance to Western Art is incalculable. (I could not find an ISBN number). A classic book for the serious Art lover or historian.

And the well known Mother and daughter picture in the Louvre below. (Also a beautiful portrait in The Wallace Collection in London.)

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