The most beautiful 18th century portraits

Aug 2013
956
Italy
#1
Without doubt, the European 18th century witnessed an artistic explosion; some of the finest portraits in the world were painted in this era of Enlightenment.

Personally I love the splendid portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds and François Boucher; but you may prefer others...Which are your favourite 18th century portraits?
 
Jul 2017
330
Germany
#2
I recently saw a TV documentary on Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun who created some wonderful portraits of, among others, queen Marie-Antoinette of France:



This one was particularly created to counter all the slander about the queen, portraying Marie-Antoinette as mother rather than queen.

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun later also portrayed Caroline Bonaparte, queen of Naples (and complained about the way she was treated by her):

 
Aug 2013
956
Italy
#3
Ah, Caroline Bonaparte...She was probably the worst of Napoleon's sisters: egoistic, fiercely ambitious, vain, loyal to no one in the end...Not even to her brother or husband.

Her children by Murat were lovely, though: they resembled him more than her.

Poor Marie Antoinette: I cannot help but feel sorry for her cruel fate. She was not a wise queen but many crowned women have been a lot worse, and she definitely does not deserve the harsh acid criticism which most biographers have spewed out at her.

Between the tragic Queen of France and the antipathetic Queen of Naples, I'd choose the former any day...
 
Jul 2017
330
Germany
#4
So would I :lol:. If you read French, there's an interesting website on the painting sessions of Madame Vigée-Lebrun and Caroline (who at the time was "only" grand-duchess of Berg): Caroline Murat par Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun | Plume d'histoire

Apparently the paintress at one time complained loudly to Vivant Denon: "J’ai peint de véritables princesses qui ne m’ont jamais tourmentée et ne m’ont jamais fait attendre!" - I have painted real princesses who did not torment me like that and never made me wait!

Though, to be fair to Caroline, she seems to have been an intelligent and strong-willed young lady, and I think Napoleon did not always treat her and her husband the way they deserved.

But, as at least Caroline's portrait is already 19th and not 18th century, here's another one from the first half of the 18th century:



5-year-old Louis XV of France in his coronation costume, by Hyazinthe Rigaud

And by the same painter: "Madame" Elisabeth-Charlotte d'Orléans (or, as she is called in Germany, "Liselotte von der Pfalz") some years before her death:


 

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