Reproduction under Marie-Louise of a painting by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun - Self-portrait
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842)
Self-portrait of the artist painting the portrait of Empress Elizaveta Alexeevna, 1800 - Oil on canvas - 78,5 x 68 cm St. Petersburg, State Hermitage Museum
This work was painted in St Petersburg where Vigee Le Brun, a refugee from the French Revolution and famed for her portraits, was working at the imperial court. She created many portraits of members of the imperial family and Russian aristocrats. Here the artist showed herself painting a portrait of Empress Elizaveta Alexeevna, wife of Emperor Alexander I. The strictness of the Neoclassical style did not deprive the canvas of intimacy. Compositional clarity is softened by the lively pose and elegant gesture, and the slightly coquettish femininity. Close
Vigée Le Brun's self-portraits abound: paintings, pastels and drawings elegantly combine grace and feminine pride. As the Ancien Régime and its fine arts institution came to an end, the artist supplanted most of his portrait competitors. Her desire to overcome the constraints imposed on women artists allows her to develop a very personal technique and aesthetic criteria: she masters the science of colour and invents a whole range of poses and costumes that allow her to bring a great variety to her portraits and improvisations.