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Vigée Le Brun   By: (1860-1928)

Vigée Le Brun by Haldane MacFall

First Page:

[Illustration: Cover art]

MASTERPIECES IN COLOUR EDITED BY T. LEMAN HARE

VIGÉE LE BRUN

1755 1842

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PLATE I. MARIE ANTOINETTE. Frontispiece

(At Versailles)

The first portrait that Vigée Le Brun painted, in her twenty fourth year (1779) of Marie Antoinette. Here is no hint of the tragedy that was to overwhelm the handsome young daughter of Austria; all was as yet but gaiety and roses and sunshine and pleasant airs, and the glamour that hovers about a throne. But there are signs of the imperious temper of her house, combined with the levity and frivolity of manners which were so early to make her unpopular.

[Illustration: Plate I.]

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Vigée Le Brun

BY HALDANE MACFALL

ILLUSTRATED WITH EIGHT

REPRODUCTIONS IN COLOUR

[Illustration: Title page art]

LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK

NEW YORK: FREDERICK A. STOKES CO.

1907

CONTENTS

I. The Beginnings II. The Wonderful Child III. Marriage and Motherhood IV. Marie Antoinette V. Sweet Exile VI. The End

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Plate

I. Marie Antoinette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frontispiece At Versailles

II. Madame Vigée Le Brun and Child In the Louvre

III. Madame Vigée Le Brun and Child In the Louvre

IV. Portrait of Madame Vigée Le Brun In the National Gallery, London

V. The two elder Children of Marie Antoinette At Versailles

VI. Portrait of Madame Molé Raymond In the Louvre

VII. Marie Antoinette and her Children At Versailles

VIII. Peace bringing back Plenty In the Louvre

[Illustration: Vigée Le Brun]

I

THE BEGINNINGS

In Paris, in the Rue Coquillière, Louis the Fifteenth being King of France or rather the Pompadour holding sway thereover there lived a witty, amiable fellow who plied the art of painting portraits in oils and pastels after the mediocre fashion that is called "pleasing." This Louis Vigée and his wife, Jeanne Maissin, moved in the genial enthusiastic circle of the lesser artists, passing through their sober day without undue excitement; for fame and wealth and the prizes of life were not for them. Boucher was lord of art; and La Tour and Greuze and Chardin were at the height of their genius; but honest Louis Vigée could but plod on at his pleasing portraits, and sigh that the gods had not borne to him the immortal flame.

Yet he was to come near to the glory of it nearer than he thought. 'Twas a pity that he was robbed of the splendour of basking in the reflected radiance, and by a fish's bone.

It was to have its beginning in that year after the indolent but obstinate king, having fallen foul of his Parliaments in his game of facing both ways in the bitter strife 'twixt Church and people, patched up a peace with the Parliament men.

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PLATE II. MADAME VIGÉE LE BRUN AND CHILD

(In the Louvre)

In Vigée Le Brun's portrait of herself and her child we see in full career the Greek ideals that were come upon France a France weary of light trifling with life, and of mere butterfly flitting from flower to flower.

[Illustration: Plate II.]

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Our worthy mediocre Vigée could remember the banished Parliament re entering Paris in triumph on that fourth day of September in 1754 amidst the exultant shouts of the people; the clergy looking on with a scowl the while. On that same day was born to the Dauphin a son the little fellow called the Duke de Berry whom we shall soon see ascending the throne as the ill starred Louis the Sixteenth, for the Dauphin was to be taken before the old king died... Continue reading book >>




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