August 30, 2010

A Modern Du Barry

Is she Du Barry enough for you??

This is a photograph of Norma Talmadge who played Madame du Barry, in Du Barry, Woman of Passion.  The movie was made in 1930 and I have yet to locate a copy.  If you know of one, let me know! I love classic takes on the 18th century!

By the way...how amazing is that necklace!

August 27, 2010

Just for Fun: Music Video!

Lovely reader Sofia has brought my attention to a recent music video by Swedish artist, Eric Saade.  The video is set in the 18th century with funny characters, period inspired costume and settings.  As Sofia says "Forbidden Romance! Masquerade! Singer in chains!"  :o)

So just for fun, here is the video for Eric Saade's single: Masquerade.  Happy Friday!!

August 25, 2010

Masquerade: Fall Makeup Collection

Masquerade is the theme of the week!

It is also the name of the new Smashbox fall collection.  I was able to check out this collection and LOVE it. Oh. so ... much!

Before we even begin with the makeup you will be caught by the packaging...feathers, spangles midnight purples and a pop of muted deep pink cover the packages for each product.  The idea is clear; a sparkling night of costume and glamour and a bit of mystery! Even the products are themed this way.  For instance, the lip enhancing gloss has a midnight purple/blue metal cap and simple silver type.  Lovely!






I have the lip enhancing gloss in Disguise gorgeous berry color that goes on as a sheer, adds just the right amount of color to my lips.  It is full of gold, pink and green sparkle flecks, surprisingly when you wear the gloss, the flecks create more of a highlight than sparkle.  Hence the 'lip enhancing gloss' label.  The other color Masquerade lip gloss is available in is Reveal, a mysterious, almost gold shade. It was hard to decide!

For the face, the Baked Fusion Soft Lights Palette (another tempting item).  When worn your skin glows, I think it is comparable to Two Faced Candlelight powder, although the 'glow' factor is better with Masquerade. The mascara is a double feature: liquid liner and lash cover. Gives lashes an almost metallic shine. 

The Smashbox Masquerade Eye Palette comes in the following shades: Matte soft peach, Shimmering black plum, Matte taupe, Metallic khaki, Shimmering gold, Bronze, Metallic Cabernet, and Shimmering navy and Matte bone.

Smashbox features two looks for the makeup line although there are so many possibilities with the amazing eyeshadow shades!  The looks they feature are Intrigue and Mystique.  You can learn how to create the looks and get the proper products from the Smashbox Website.  Perfect for anyone planning to attend a masked ball or just a fabulous night out on the town!


***UPDATE***
I now own the eyeshadow palette as well.l It is just as fab. The colors are unique to the brand and my favorites so far are Metallic Cabernet and Metallic Khaki! <3 new makeup!

August 23, 2010

About Her: Madame du Barry



"I well knew that Du Barry and her infamous party were constant spies upon the Queen on every occasion of such a nature [nightly promenades]; and that they would not fail to exaggerate her every movement to her prejudice."



August 20, 2010

Strike a Pose

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, who was in high demand for portraits during the 1780's, had a waiting list of well to do clientele.  After painting so many duchesses and dukes, it is not surprising to find a niche.  What is a sitter's best angle? To smile or not to smile? Feathers and pearls or lots of diamonds and velvet?  What pose is most flattering to what type of lady?

One pose she had success with was a side-way turn, where the sitter appears to be moving forward, but glancing to the side at the viewer.  Some advantages to this pose include showing off a tiny waste, creating a dynamic composition with plenty of movement (think fabric and hair) and still capturing the face - the most intriguing part of the portrait. The figures engage the viewers and the viewers can examine and appreciate person before them.

 Vigée Le Brun. Mme. Molé Raymond, 1786. Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre.

Some ladies who struck this pose for Le Brun include Madame Molé Raymond whose portrait was finished in 1786.    Mme. Molé Raymond appears to be hustling by us, in a rush to hit the shops or something equally diverting, her hair, feathers and ribbons around her waist flutter in the air as she moves. I adore this gown, a lavender silk over dress with an amazing teal pop underneath.  Her chapeau matches of course! She glances out at the viewer and smiles with wide eyes.  She acknowledges us by raising her muff up and holding it slight to the side.  She could turn towards us at any moment! 

Vigée Le Brun, Portrait of a Woman, 1797. Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts.

Similarly, in 1797, Le Brun painted a Portrait of a Woman, said to be her daughter but now thought to be the Countess Irina Ivanovna Worontzoff née Izmaïloff.  (Still unconfirmed!) The lady's pose mimics Mme. Molé Raymond, turned in the other direction and caught in a moment of motion.  She is wrapped tightly in her shawl, wearing a green silk gown with a gold spun sheen, and the overcast sky leads us to believe it is a chilly spring or autumn day.  She is not as forward with us; her smile more demure and her hat, outfit and hair more modest, as appropriate for the period.  She is really quite stunning.  

August 17, 2010

Art du Jour! House of Cards


Chardin, Jean-Siméon, House of Cards. 1779, Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre.

August 14, 2010

Out of the Salon: Seaside Heights

Oh here I go again! Off on some more adventures, this time with Heather, and it will require a lot of travel time.  I wont have the internet sadly...(ugh!) but twitter is always an option.  Where would we be without technology! I suppose I should finish up packing...
See you all soon! Will post twitpics!

August 13, 2010

Post-Crime: Charlotte Corday

After her arrest, Charlotte Corday was locked up in a cell by herself.  From the cell she could hear voices from the streets, including those shouting the news of her recent crime against Marat, as well as the people who cried for death to the assassin.  She also heard cries that her "accomplice" had been arrested as well, a man she swore knew nothing of the plot.

To enhance the uncomfort she already felt, she was watched twenty four hours a day by two armed men.  Having these gens d'armes was not typical for a female prisoner, and Corday make constant complaints about it.  She protested as it was a profanation of her sex, but nothing was done about it.

A last request of sorts, which Corday made was to have her portrait painted in the form of a miniature.  In a letter to the Committee of General Safety she wrote, "As I have yet some moments to live, may I hope, citizens, that you will permit me to sit for my portrait, as I would fain leave this good souvenir to my friends. besides, as the likenesses of good citizens are carefully preserved, so curiosity sometimes seeks those of great criminals, in order to perpetuate their crime."

During her trial, Corday noticed a man painting.  When she realized he was painting an image of her she smiled.  The artist was M. Hauer.  He was unable to finish at the trial but Corday requested he have a few minutes to finish his work, which was granted when she returned to the prison, right before her hair was cut in preparation for her execution.

August 10, 2010

Marie Antoinette in the Round: Sculpture

Sometimes we just need a break from painting.  In art school there was always a funny tension between painters and sculptors, although I can't tell you why! 

Here are some works that represent Marie Antoinette in various mediums: marble, stone, terracotta etc.  They really are quite lovely, and the likenesses are intriguing.  I am particularly taken with the hairstyles! 

The first image below  includes both carved pearls and feathers, and I also admire the detail in the necklace with a miniature of Louis XVI on it. The image on the left is located in San Denis.



Pajou, Augustin. Marie Antoinette
Lecomte, Felix. Marie Antoinette
Boizot, Louis-Simon. Marie Antoinette (1781)
Marie Antoinette. 1783, marble. Louvre.
Gaucher, Christine. Marie Antoinette. 2006, terracotta.
Tibble, Antonia. Marie Antoinette #1. 2009.
Tibble, Antonia. Marie Antoinette. 2009.
Meyer Vaisman, Untitled Turkey XVII (Marie Antoinette). 1992

Juicy Couture, merchandise packaging design, 2009.

August 09, 2010

The Glitzy Material Girl, Marie Antoinette/Michelle Obama?

If you have been following the Marie Antoinette spike on Twitter, it is largely due to a recent controversy over the First Lady, Michelle Obama.  In a recent piece in the NY Daily News, she has been compared to the famous Queen of France.

"Instead, Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette - the French queen who spent extravagantly on clothes and jewels without a thought for her subjects' plight - than an average mother of two. While she's spent her time in the White House telling parents they should relieve their chubby kids' dependency on sugar and stressing the importance of an organic veggie garden, hopping a jet to Europe to meet with Spanish royalty isn't the visual the White House probably wants to project."

Read the full piece here: Material girl Michelle Obama is a modern-day Marie Antoinette on a glitzy Spanish vacation

August 06, 2010

Etiquette strikes again: Teens find small escape

Upon Louis XV's death, a stunned Marie Antoinette and now Louis XVI stood in their inner apartments of Versailles.  Famously, they asked God to guide them because of the disadvantage of their youth.  Of course, a court does not wait for prayers or thought; there was proper etiquette to be carried out right away.

The Comtesse de Noailles, or as Antoinette referred to, Madame Etiquette, was the first to approach the dismayed couple with instructions on what to do next.  As etiquette demanded, they were to make their way to the Grand Salon.  Once their they had to receive visits from those royal princes who had to pay homage to the new King and Queen.

Naturally, performing such a task was tough at that time.  To those first in line, Marie Antoinette was introduced as the new Queen of France leaning weakly upon her husband with a handkerchief constantly up to her eyes and nose. 

That evening the court left for Choisy, and a carriage was called for the new King, his Queen, his siblings and his sister in law, the comtesse d'Artois.  No one was older than twenty in that carriage. Naturally, though grieving, and full of anticipation of what might happen next, the party all succumbed to laughter after the comtesse d'Artois mispronounced a word, striking a funny bone in everyone. 

August 04, 2010

For your château? Armchairs

I am going to try a new format.  Decorative arts are easy to love or hate, but let's try a comparison.  Which do you prefer and why? The attention to detail was quite extraordinary in 18th century furniture. 

I posted close up images so you could see the details better! Now, which piece do you prefer and why? What would you have in your château??



Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené, Louis-François Chatard, Armchair . French, 1788, walnut, gold, cotton twill, silk. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.




Georges Jacob, (upholstery style of: Philippe de Lasalle, Armchair, French. 1780-85,
Carved and gilded walnut, covered in embroidered silk-satin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

August 02, 2010

Outside Versailles: Markets


"For five months, not a farmer has made his appearance in the markets of this town. Such a circumstance was never known before, although from time to time, high prices have prevailed to a considerable extent. On the contrary, the markets were always well supplied in proportion to the high price of grain."

Letter of the municipal assembly of Louviers, August 1789 "Archives Nationales," D. xxix I.