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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Charles-Roger prince de Bauffremont-Listenois, by Labille-Guiard, 1791

This portrait of Charles-Roger prince de Bauffremont-Listenois (4 October 1713, Paris - 21 March 1795, Cézy) by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard was exhibited at the Salon of 1791, two year after the beginning of the French Revolution.  Apparently commissioned to commemorate the prince's admission into the chivalric Order of the Golden Fleece - the Toison d'Or - the portrait's commission and subsequent public display were strangely dissonant with the radical politics of the day.  In fact, considering the boldly hierarchical nature of the portrait, it's rather amazing that both the sitter and the artist managed to survive the Reign of Terror, two years later.

At the top of the painting are listed all the prince's various titles, orders, and awards.  For some reason, the painter
decided to omit the other finial of the chair back.  (The picture's frame, in my opinion, is really quite ghastly.)


Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (11 April 1749, Paris – 24 April 1803, Paris), French portrait painter and miniaturist, who was, along with Vigée Le Brun, the most important female artist at the end of the eighteenth century.  Little is known of her early training, but from1769 she apprenticed with the pastel master Quentin de la Tour for five years.  She was accepted into the Royal Academy in 1783 - on the same day as Vigée Le Brun, with whose work hers is often compared - and soon came under the important patronage of Madame Adélaïde, one of the king's powerful aunts.  During the Revolution she adapted to her much altered situation, exhibiting portraits of the new leadership - including Robespierre - and overcame the taint of her former strongly royalist connections.


Fauteuil à la reine attributed to Georges Jacob, circa 1785.  (Upholstery not original.)

In his portrait, the prince is seated in a very particular chair, identical to one [above] now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum.  Attributed to Jacob, the same chair - with a green velvet upholstery, both times - appears in Labille-Guiard's 1787 portrait of Madame Adélaïde.

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