Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun
The Odyssey of An Artist in An Age of RevolutionBook - 2005
The foremost woman artist of her age, Elisabeth Vig#65533;e Le Brun (1755--1842) exerted her considerable charm to become the friend, and then official portraitist, of Marie Antoinette. Though profitable, this role made Vig#65533;e Le Brun a public and controversial figure, and in 1789 it precipitated her exile. In a Europe torn by strife and revolution, she nevertheless managed to thrive as an independent, self-supporting artist, doggedly setting up studios in Rome, Naples, Venice, Milan, Vienna, St. Petersburg, and London. Long overlooked or dismissed, Vig#65533;e Le Brun's portraits now hang in the Louvre, in a room of their own, as well as in all leading art museums of the world.
This gripping biography tells the story of a singularly gifted and high-spirited woman during the revolutionary era and explores the development and significance of her art. The book also recounts the public and private lives of Elisabeth Vig#65533;e Le Brun, connecting her with such personalities of her age as Catherine the Great, Napoleon, and Benjamin Franklin, and setting her experiences in the context of contemporary European politics and culture. A generous selection of illustrations, including sixteen of Vig#65533;e Le Brun's portraits presented in full color, completes this exceptional volume.