Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century

May 31, 2016

Jean-Honoré Fragonard's Mythological Figures


Fragonard, The Goddess Minerva. c. 1772. The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Here is a selection of mythological and fictional figures that Fragonard painted.  Working throughout the 18th century, Fragonard studied with François Boucher, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, Charles-André van Loo and Charles-Joseph Natoire. He was and is known for his genre paintings. 

Before he studied art, Fragonard was an apprentice to a notary in Paris. One account suggests his parents noticed his artistic inclinations and prompted him to seek a different apprenticeship while another says he was fired from his desk job because he doodled too often!

April 27, 2016

The secret history of Marie Antoinette's perfumer

 Louis XVI, de trois quarts à gauche, Marie-Antoinette, le second Dauphin et Madame Elisabeth, de profil à gauche, bustes conjugués, émergeant de nuages : [estampe]
"You who so love flowers, I offer you this bouquet." 

March 02, 2016

January 26, 2016

18th Century Fashion Rules: Colors and Cuts

Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun, Comtesse Marie Dubarry. 1789,  oil on canvas. Musée St.-Didie.
A Letter from Marie Antoinette to her mother, Maria Theresa. 13 June 1776....


January 12, 2016

Marie Antoinette's Secret Letters, Illegitimate Children, and DNA Testing

Vigee-Lebrun, Elisabeth-Louise. Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and her children. 1787 Oil on canvas. Versailles.

Widely discussed, researched, and studied over a 200 year period, Marie Antoinette's story is fascinating and sad: victims of a violent revolution, all the family but her daughter died as a result. Now, author Evelyn Farr is bringing to light evidence that two of the queen's children were actually fathered by Count Axel von Fersen and not King Louis XVI.




Norma Shearer as Marie Antoinette and Tyrone Power as Count Axel von Fersen in Marie Antoinette

"Based on her research, Farr says she has compelling evidence that Marie-Antoinette's son Louis Charles and daughter Princess Sophie – both of whom were thought to be the children of Louis XVI – were in fact fathered by Fersen. "¹

Having recently finished watching Making a Murderer on Netflix my first reaction to this story was - "What about the DNA testing!?"