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Abstract

Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun may be considered one of the most celebrated women artists of eighteenth century France. The elegance of her style and her ability to produce idealized images of her noble sitters made her increasingly popular within royalist circles. She was particularly favoured by the Queen Marie Antoinette whom she painted in a manner that provoked controversy among the critics and the public. Vigee Le Brun’s approach to her royal subject was very sentimental as it can be seen from her statements in her autobiography, the “Memoirs”. After the outbreak of the Revolution, Vigee Le Brun fled to Italy where she continued to paint portraits in the line of the Baroque rather than the Rococo tradition. Her reputation may be seen within the context of the influential role of the salon society of eighteenth century France. This society included women writers, painters and famous patrons of the arts. Their liberal behavior has become the topic of an extensive survey by contemporary feminist writers.

Note on the Author

Evangelia Karvouni is an independent researcher writing and working in Athens, Greece. Her interests extend from the field of art history to archeology and cultural studies. She is particularly attracted to the intersections between art history and women studies. This is her first article on the famous eighteenth century woman artist Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun whose spectacular career altered the course of French painting and left an invaluable legacy to the next generations of women artists.

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