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Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange, née de Parseval (Main View, composite)

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

Facing leftward, Magdaleine Pinceloup de la Grange gazes into the distance. Her refined dress is accented by flowers, ribbons, and pearls. But Magdaleine does not appear quite as at ease as her husband, Charles-François, in a companion portrait. She sits straight upright, her back parallel to, but not quite touching, the chair behind her.

With both hands, Magdaleine grasps a large gray-blue cat that bemusedly engages the viewer. Because of its large size and distinctive coloration, the cat can be identified as a chartreux, one of the oldest and most cherished French breeds. Jean-Baptiste Perronneau included feline companions in several of his portraits of female subjects, reinforcing the elegance and sophistication of his sitters. Here, the bells on the chartreux's collar echo the pearls around Magdaleine's neck, suggesting that cat and sitter alike are refined objects for visual delectation.

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