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Self-portrait with palette

Painting, 1790, 100×79.2 cm

Description of the artwork «Self-portrait with palette»

Among the considerable number of self-portraits by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun this "Self portrait with palette" now kept in the Uffizi gallery, can be called, if not the most famous, the most representative, i.e. reflecting the essence of the character of the artist.

The picture shows a young woman with brush and palette in hand is located in front of the easel, on which is fixed another being in the portrait. It attracts not so much the beauty, as its natural charm and vivacity, a kind of cheerful cunning. Vigee-Lebrun was indeed distinguished by wit and sociability. In this portrait it is written with such expression, if about to turn to someone standing near with a sincere courtesy, or a cute joke.

Her neat black dress with white laces on a green-brown neutral background looks elegant and simple, and one of the brushes in her hand, stained with Carmine, in common with the scarlet sash. By the way, the ability to dress and particularly innovative with this area has been the strength Vigee-Lebrun. Many of those whose portraits she wrote, the artist gave tips on how to dress better and even personally helped to comb her hair in accordance with the fashion of such competence was a strong competitive advantage in the struggle for customers. About the styles of hats and dresses cut with her regularly consulted Queen Marie-Antoinette one of the first of the French court to abandon the corset. And when, fleeing from the French revolution, Vigee-Lebrun moved to Russia, her fashion recommendations appreciated Grand Duchess Elizabeth Alekseevna, the wife of crown Prince Alexander. His grandmother, Catherine II, was very angry, when Elizabeth appeared at the ball in a dress, more like a negligee. The author of the outfit was, of course, Vigee-Lebrun.

Interestingly, born in 1755, the year Vigee-Lebrun during the creation of this self-portrait was about 35, but the artist looks much younger. Similarly, Vigee-Lebrun loved "knock off" age. Many of its models (women, usually rich and noble, but not always beautiful) look at the portraits much more attractive and youthful than it actually is. Vigee-Lebrun was not my task to give an in-depth characterization of the model. On the contrary, she deliberately smoothed the irregularity and "specificity" of people and bring them closer to the aesthetic ideal of the late eighteenth century (the oval face, the mild and gentle features, small mouth), for that it was nicknamed "the painter of beauty and her best incarnation."

Author: Anna Yesterday
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Portrait

Style of art: Rococo

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1790

Size: 100×79.2 cm

Artwork in selections: 10 selections

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