Portrait de Madeleine

EF713597-AA43-4017-9E61-82BED33582B2Following up on last week’s post about being able to name five female artists, here’s another one to add to your list. French Romantic-style painter Marie-Guillemine Benoist was born on December 18, 1768 in Paris. She was the daughter of a government official who recognized her talent and enrolled her as a pupil of Vigée-LeBrun in 1791; the latter’s influence is very evident in Benoist’s early works, mainly portraits done in pastels.

2FC3622F-8C17-4306-A93A-72644117E33ELater, she studied under Jacques-Louis David, and as a result she began producing more ambitious works in oils. She made her debut at the Salon with two historical scenes and thereafter painted both portraits and historical subjects. She achieved a high reputation and received a gold medal and an annual government grant. Napoleon commissioned portraits of himself and his family from her.

E607D564-68A1-43EB-B1C2-2F86C5C301A9In the early 1800s, she switched to painting genre subjects and sentimental domestic scenes which were immensely popular. Her best-known painting, a remarkable portrait of a young black woman, painted in 1800, is believed to have been inspired by the decree of 1794 abolishing slavery. The painting, which hangs in the Louvre, was recently renamed from Portrait d’une Négresse to Portrait de Madeleine to honor the identity of the sitter, which had been ignored for over two hundred years.

F81A7A5E-81CF-4597-8FF9-FC0F19814ED0Eighteenth Century Women Artists: Their Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs (affiliate link)

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
This entry was posted in Art and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s