Marie Antoinette Portraits

MA28. Dagoty

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5 Responses to MA28. Dagoty

  1. jhughes says:

    Gautier-D’Agoty renders Queen Marie Antoinette of France as a strong ruler in this 1775 portrait of her done in oil on canvas. When the portrait was presented to Marie Antoinette and the court, it was strongly disliked, suggesting that the artist had incorrectly or unflatteringly rendered the Queen. However, every detail in the portrait aids in conveying a message.
    Part of the power of this portrait comes from Marie Antoinette being portrayed as a wealthy, majestic queen surrounded by her trappings. Her right hand rests on the globe expressing worldliness and global knowledge; her left hand floats delicately by her waist giving her the appearance that she, too, might be floating, slightly above her voluminous skirts. The crown sits upon a pillow to her right, symbolizing the presence of the king, also emphasized by the image of the King as a baby in a Christ-like position in the background. The scepter, adjacent to the crown, and the throne, behind Marie Antoinette, both imply the omnipresence of the King. Amidst the crown, intertwining pink roses and white lilies, the flowers of the Hapsburg Dynasty and Bourbon Monarchy, symbolize the union of the two empires.
    While the accoutREments are important, Marie Antoinette is the focus of the painting. Her lavish clothing and elaborate coiffure represent her status to the French people. The painter narrows Marie Antoinette’s eyes, causing her arresting gaze to interpellate the viewer of the painting. The hair above her forehead pulls tautly into her coiffure, completed with a hat highlighting her high forehead, one of the characteristics of French beauty. Marie Antoinette’s hair, powdered gray, exemplifies the style at the time. Her pale complexion and high cheekbones with a slight flush renders her as the epitome of ideal beauty. Her posture suggests pride and elegance. She stands erect with the help of a corset, shoulders back and head held high.
    The background showcases the wealth she possesses. The regal red drapes, tasseled at the bottom with gold, are drawn back as if in her honor, giving the viewer a secret insight into her life. The blue and gold fleur-de-lys of her ermine-lined cloak mirrors the intricately woven pattern of the carpet at her feet. The column in the background serves as an allegory of the royal family’s support of France.
    Surrounded by the symbols of French royalty, dressed in elaborate court dress, Marie Antoinette is undeniably the Queen. The details in the portrait highlight that Marie Antoinette had knowledge, wealth, and beauty. It will be fascinating to analyze the changes in how she is depicted in later portraits as her popularity decreased.


  2. ekriner says:

    The color blue is the most obvious component of this portrait of Marie Antoinette. The dominance of this color is a link to the French royalty. The large velvet cloak that surrounds her, blue and covered in fleur de lis, further reinforces the symbol of the French monarchy. The underside of this cloak, covered in ermine fur, is rare, luxurious, and very expensive and therefore royal. Her dress appears to be made of expensive fabrics such as silk, velvet, and silk taffeta for the tufted rows of fabric and bows on the skirt. The ostrich feathers on her hat were imported from another country since ostriches do not live in France. Every detail of Marie Antoinette’s outfit has been meticulously crafted and fashioned with the finest of materials.
    Her right hand rests on a globe representing her power, perhaps the global power of France. Near the globe a large book lies open to what looks like a map. On an elegantly tasseled pillow next to the globe rests a crown, representing King Louis XVI in absentia, but also Marie Antoinette’s royal STATUS. Lillies and roses encircle the crown, representing the alliance between France and Austria, confirmed by the marriage of Marie Antoinette to Louis Aguste.
    The red and gold velvet drapery, another colorS representing royalty, helps to frame Marie Antoinette as the focus of the painting. The darkness in her immediate background makes her seem more pale and therefore dainty and innocent, but also brings her more into focus as the subject of the painting. The impressive pillars in the background seem almost intimidating, making Marie Antoinette seem more powerful. The sculpture in the background suggests that Marie Antoinette is in the royal palace, emphasizing again her status as Queen. Surrounded by objects that represent power and monarchy, the rich fabrics of her dress, and imposing architecture, Marie Antoinette poses as a wealthy and powerful royal.
    This 1775 painting by Gautier-D’Agoty was likely commissioned by the court to show the expectations they had of the new queen of France. Marie Antoinette probably had very little control over how she was depicted in comparison to other portraits later in her life that she commissioned herself. Each symbolic detail of this painting is for a political purpose, as the monarchy had a stake in her portrayal and the control of royal symbolism. At this point in her life, Marie Antoinette is still relatively new to the French ways and system of monarchy and, therefore, has not taken control of her appearance yet, as she will later on in her life.

    -Emma Kriner

  3. jvanpee says:

    Very nice attention to the details in one of Marie Antoinette’s first state portraits as Queen. You note well all the accoutrements that signal her royal status.

  4. jvanpee says:

    Very good description, especially the last paragraph that acknowledges the importance of state portraits in conveying royal status and authority, and Marie Antoinette’s personal lack of power in fashioning this image, at least at this point in the beginning of her reign as Queen.

  5. Pingback: Marie Antoinette’s wigs showed what about her status and daily life? - The Millennial Mirror

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