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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Madame Riesener and her son, Léon, by Delacroix, 1835

Madame Riesener (née Félicité Longrois, 1786-1847), known as a beauty in her youth, had served as lady-in-waiting to the Empress Joséphine. (And is thought to have had a brief liaison with the Emperor, as well.) In 1807 she married the painter Henri-François Riesener (1767-1828), himself the son of the famous cabinet maker, Jean-Henri Riesener. The painter Delacroix was a nephew of Henri-François, and therefore a cousin of the latter's son, Léon (1808–1878), who would also become a well-known artist. Delacroix was the elder by a decade, and did much to further the career of Léon, and the two were very close.

Madame Riesener was forty-nine and seven years a widow when she sat for her nephew.
The details of Madame Riesener's toilette are very artfully chosen and suavely rendered.


  1. Such gorgeous portraits. How much attention is given to the garment of the sitter is always so very interesting as is the background and palette. I love Ms. Riesener's bonnet and outfit - that orange and the pattern in her scarf has a very contemporary presence! The collar and buttons on the gentleman's portrait are such lovely accents of his dress and that 6 o'clock shadow is yummy! Lovely post, Stephen. Thank you!

    1. I agree, of course, with your comments Miss Lisa! The scarf is especially wonderful. One of the things I keep noticing about the son's portrait is how the "incorrectness" of the white of his right eye - whether it was painted that way, or is a result of the age of the paint - takes away the sense of "real-life". If you cover his left eye, and look at the right one and the rest of the portrait, the whole thing seem flattened and "painted" rather than life-like. But if you cover the right eye, and only look at his left one and the rest of the painting, he comes back to life. Such a small thing but, to me anyway, it changes everything.