Eye Candy for Today: Vigée Le Brun self portrait

Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun self portrait
Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun self portrait (details) with preliminary sketch and Rubens painting that was her inspiration.

Self portrait in a Straw Hat,, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun; oil on canvas, roughly 39 x 28 in. (99 x 70 cm); in the collection of the National Gallery, London. There is a high resolution image available from this page on Wikipedia.

Vigée Le Brun was a renowned 18th centry portait painter. Her subjects included the queen, Marie Antoinette, who considered Vigée Le Brun to be her favorite portraitest.

Vigée Le Brun is thought to have flattered her sitters — not uncommon among portrait artists — but whether that was the case here, I don’t know. It was possibly a moot point, as she was reportedly quite beautiful.

I think it’s a wonderful portrait. Look at the delicacy of the modeling, the light under the chin and the greens in the skin tones.

There is a pencil and study for the portrait — with the head in a slightly different position — in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY (images above, second from bottom).

Vigée Le Brun is quoted as saying she was inspired to do a self portrait in this motif after seeing Peter Paul Rubens’ portrait of Susanna Lunden (images above, bottom).


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