Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun showed the portrait of Marie-Antoinette and her children, commissioned by the Royal Administration, at the 1787 Salon. The following year, on the eve of the Revolution, she completed a new portrait of the Queen on her own initiative, but as she had not had any new sittings, she re-used the composition of the 1787 picture. While the attitude and the face are almost identical, the decor was taken from another portrait of Marie-Antoinette completed in 1778 and currently held at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. In the Versailles painting, Marie-Antoinette is seated, holding a Book of Hours. The blue velvet mantle falls over her white satin skirt. In her hair she wears a pouf decorated with ostrich feathers. The bouquet on the table indicates the Queen’s love of country life and her interest in flowers. This painting remained in the artist’s studio until 1818, when it was bought by Louis XVIII.

Full title : Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1755-1793)


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