Saturday, October 15, 2011

Three Paintings from the Salon of 1787

Elisabeth Louise Vigee-LeBrun, Marie-Antoinette and her Children, Salon of 1787

Adelaide Labille-Guiard, Madame Adelaide of France, Salon of 1787
(Palace of Versailles)
These two enormous paintings hung side by side at the Salon of 1787.  While Adelaide Labille-Guiard's Portrait of the King's Aunt was lauded as a big success, Vigee-LeBrun's portrait of Marie-Antoinette was so severely criticized that it had to be taken down in two days.  People were complaining about everything they could find, even the gilded frame saying this was where all the money of France was going to.  Considering Jacques-Louis David's Death of Socrates was also hanging at the same Salon, it is very interesting to compare the different styles, and the social and political meanings being presented within the same year.

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates, 1787
(Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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