Our work presents a young woman seated in a landscape, half-length, face seen from the front, head slightly tilted, soft and dreamy expression, she sketches a half-smile. The idealized oval face, with rosy cheeks, almond-shaped eyes and a straight nose.
Her powdered hair, the two curls of which frame her forehead, are pulled up in a chignon adorned with pearls and a piece of velvet fabric lined with brocade. ElIe wears an orange silk dress embroidered with gold whose neckline brings out her white lace blouse, the dress is partly hidden by a loose blue velvet coat held at the shoulder by a clasp of precious stones. A side of the coat is gracefully raised and held by another clasp to expose the brocade lining. This large piece of velvet animated by angular folds envelops the young woman in a vigorous movement. Velvet, a noble material par excellence, is widely used in portraits for its visual properties. The angles created by the formation of drapes modify the inclination of the fibers (against the grain), the light is reflected more on the surface and therefore creates clear and brilliant reflections.
Working the fabric in impasto Nicolas de Largilliere allows the viewer to feel the softness of the velvet through illuminated white ridges. Applying embossed material to fabrics, the sheen of satin and the fineness of lace are enhanced with a skillful and vigorous touch.
The almost electric light of the theatrical setting is softened by the autumnal colors of the landscape in the background. This warm palette of ochres and browns contrasts with the blues of the sky and the mantle.
The white, milky flesh is worked in glaze and displays a transparency and an almost tangible velvety.
The painter's virtuosity shines in the treatment of the fabrics, the sparkle of the jewels, the spontaneity in the rendering of the texture because the care given to the clothes is as important in the art of the portrait as the model itself.
The young marquise not only sends us the image of a fresh and desirable young woman, but also of a rich and important person because of her finery.
Accentuated by a tight framing, the presence of our model gains in intensity.
Our portrait, the reflection of an elegant and refined society, is seductive by its striking effect, associating the prodigious talent of the painter with the grace and natural beauty of the marquise.
Nicolas de Largilliere, Paris, first quarter of the 18th century.
Oil on canvas.
Dimensions: h. 66 cm w. 55cm
Regency style frame in finely carved and gilded wood.
Dimensions framed: h. 84cm, 73cm
Nicolas de Largilliere, born October 2, 1656 in Paris, where he died March 20, 1746, is a French painter. He is one of the most famous portrait painters of the 17th and 18th centuries. Nicolas de Largillière's long career spanned the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, during which he established himself as a leading portrait painter. His female effigies, in particular, strike by their introspective character and their decorative richness.
Trained in Antwerp in the studio of Antoine Goubeau, who taught him the study from nature, Nicolas de Largillierre remained faithful to his precepts throughout his career. In 1673 he went to England where he worked as an assistant in the studio of the portrait painter Peter Lely for almost
seven years. He was approved by the Royal Academy on his return to France in 1683 and three years later was received as a "painter of portraits and history" on presentation of the Portrait of Charles Le Brun.