L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i



Saturday, May 17, 2014

Queen Juliane Marie of Denmark, by Vigilius Eriksen, 1776



Juliane Marie, Queen of Denmark (4 September 1729, Wolfenbüttel – 10 October 1796, Fredensborg Palace), born Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern, second consort of king Frederick V of Denmark and Norway, mother of the prince-regent Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway, and herself de facto regent from 1772 to 1784.

In 1752 she married the Danish king, doing so only six months after the death of his first wife, a fact that did not make her popular with the Danes. After the death of her husband in 1766, and now Queen Dowager, she was treated with open hostility by the new king, Christian VII, his wife, and their court. But by 1770, the king had become mentally ill, and his wife and her lover, Johann Friedrich Struensee, had taken control of the government. Juliane Marie became the center of the opposition forces, and in 1772 they seized power; Struensee was executed and the queen exiled.

Juliane Marie's son, Hereditary Prince Frederick, was now made regent but, in reality, his mother was the real power during his regency. Her government was extremely conservative, bolstering the rights and privileges of the nobility, but she was loathed in more liberal circles. She was also given responsibility for the upbringing of the crown prince, later Frederick VI, who resented her influence and control.  In 1784, he was declared of legal age, and at his first council meeting, he dismissed all in the government loyal to Juliane Marie and her son, and himself assumed the regency for his mentally ill father.  There were those - including King Gustav III of Sweden - who urged her to stage a coup, but she declined, and lived the remaining twelve years of her life quietly at court.

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Vigilius Eriksen (2 September 2, 1722 in Copenhagen – May 25, 1782 in Rungstedgård), Danish artist.  Before his tenure as court painter in Denmark, he had spent fifteen years at the court of Russia, where he worked for both empresses, Elisabeth and, especially, Catherine II.

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The Queen's likeness is generalized and quite doll-like - she looks nothing like the sharp-minded woman she must have been - but I love this painting's beautifully calculated low vantage point perspective and, especially, the amazingly detailed rendering of fabric and lace; for someone like me, these passages are really awe inspiring.


Like most important royal commissions, there are several copies and variations that are based on the original painting.







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