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The Distribution of the Gifts on the Feast of St Nicholas

Archduchess Marie Christine1763

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

Painted by Archduchess Marie Christine, this picture shows Maria Theresa and Franz Stephan surrounded by four of their children on the morning of 6 December, the Feast of St Nicholas. The artist has portrayed herself distributing gifts to her younger brothers and sister, while Maria Theresa presides over the scene from behind her husband’s chair. Endowed with considerable artistic gifts, Marie Christine painted several family portraits depicting the imperial family in domestic settings in keeping with bourgeois ideals.

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