Marie Antoinette Portraits

MA 22

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3 Responses to MA 22

  1. asinger says:

    Marie Antoinette at her Spinet was painted in 1769, by Franz Xaver Wagenschön. In 1769, she is still an Archduchess of Austria and is mentally and physically a member of that court. The painting displays, a youthful and elegant girl in an intimate setting.
    Marie Antoinette’s face is the focal point of the portrait; her faint smile suggests that she is joyous as her eyes pierce the viewer, emanating hope. Although she is elegant, she does not appear grandiose because the room she is in appears to be intimate, suggesting that this is a private family room. Many landscapes and seascapes decorate the room which is comfortably furnished with a simple red chair and curtain.
    Marie Antoinette is the most colorful and brightest item in this painting. She wears a blue dress with white lace and a slight trim of fur indicating that it may be winter, but the fur and pearl accoutrements are almost completely covered and barely noticeable at first glance. The fur trim on her dress creates a curved line that starts where her hair seems to disappear and continues down her body. This curve induces motion and grace. The bust line is low but does not give her a voluptuous bosom, suggesting that she is still immature or young. Her hands appear small and childish as her fingers are arranged as if they are about to touch the keys of the piano. She turns the score herself.
    blonde, unpowdered hair is blonde, unpowdered, displays an innocent elegance appreciated at the Austrian court. Her modest coiffure contrasts with the more elaborate ones she would wear in later French portraits. Through this portrayal of her at the instrument, the painting conveys the importance of music in her childhood and in Austrian court life. The seascapes and landscapes that decorate the room function as images of the vast Austrian empire. Although she has the landscapes around her, it is highly likely that she has never actually seen these locations. She is truly immersed in Austria in this portrait. Aspects of Austria surround her.

    Alley Singer

  2. scassidyseyoum says:

    Stranger at the Harpsichord

    Gazing into this portrait, the viewer gets a glimpse of a day in the life of Marie Antoinette, or at that time Maria Antonia. In a typical day in her life at the Austrian court, she would appear like a little dancer in a court festivity. She would be dressed and coiffed with powder to blanche her hair, and be ready for her daily schedule. She might participate in ballets attended by members of court and the entire Royal Family. She would sometimes patiently play with her dolls, while her mother attended to official business of the State. Even at such a young age, as the daughter of the ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Maria Antonia was expected to represent the country in which she was born; at every moment in her public life, she was not an individual but a symbol of the State. This portrait of her at the harpsichord shows a private side of Maria Antonia that is rarely seen– she is a confident individual, showing her natural self.

    Sitting at a harpsichord enjoying a day in Schonbrünn, Marie Antoinette has her long natural curls in a simple hairdo flowing down her back. In addition to its simplicity, her hair elicits a touch of elegance through pearls intertwined in a twisted aureole. She has alluring porcelain-like, translucent skin with a touch of blush that is the quintessential mark of beauty. She wears a flirtatious blue silk dress accentuated by a beaded bodice, lace on her sleeves, and an ermine fur resting upon her shoulders. Her dress is simple yet sophisticated, suggesting the wealth of her family, but also the informal setting in which she is placed. Her surroundings show her social status: the gold coated harpsichord, engraved with wavelike patterns with crosses in the center, the drooping red curtains with a gold fringe, and the intricate blue hand-crafted wall paintings. The paintings in the background depict seascapes, perhaps from the large Austrian Empire. Young Marie Antoinette had a sheltered life and only knew life at court. The light color and the light cast upon these paintings turns them into windows, as they are her only reference to the outside world. From her vivid blue eyes Marie Antoinette’s gaze pierces the viewer, suggesting a sudden interruption of a quiet, private moment. She enjoys playing her music without performing for an audience; she plays for her own enjoyment. She is confident with her talent and can play without any help. Movement is shown by the fluidity of her fingers and arms, she is about to touch the keys of the harpsichord. Her movement, her gaze, and her enjoyment portray a youthful spirit. Nothing in this portrayal is indicative of her royalty and lack of privacy; she is just an individual spotlighted by the contrast between her pale skin and the darker background. She is not Maria Antonia Archduchess of Austria; she is simply Marie Antonia, daughter of Maria Theresa.

    Sarah Cassidy-Seyoum

  3. jvanpee says:

    Two very explicit descriptions of the young Antonia, in an intimate setting in her Viennese home, and captured at a private moment as she plays her harpsichord.
    Your detailed descriptions give us insight in Marie Antoinette’s early years.

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