Adelaide Labille-Guiard:
Madame Adélaïde

Click on the picture to see an enlarged version.

    • Oil on Canvas 1787
    • 271 x 194 cm
    • Musée National du Chateau de Versailles

In 1787 Labille-Guiard painted this picture of Madame Adélaide, one of the daughters of Louis XV and sister to Louis XVI. It shows Madame Adélaide herself as a portraitist, drawing postumous portraits of her father and mother, and of her living brother, the King. But these images are present to indicate her proper devotion to their memory, rather than to show any real talent the princess may have had as an artist. The whole picture is largely designed as a tribute to the King Louis XV and his family. The plan on the stool is that of a convent of nuns founded at Versailles by the late Queen and Madame Adélaide was the director (lay-abbess) of the convent.

This picture well illustrates Labille-Guiard talent in showing the subject in a sumptuous costume, red velvet cloak and grey silk dress both embroidered with gold. Madam Adélaide was also a noted collector of furniture, which the artist duly shows. The technical refinement of the painting and the devoted rendering of the luxurious way of life of the sitter were the trademarks of the two rival female artists: Labille-Guiard and Vigée-Lebrun.

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