Marie Antoinette´s Family Portraits | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Marie Antoinette´s Family Portraits

May 25, 2011

Marie Antoinette´s Family Portraits

Swiss artist Jean-Étienne Liotard was a traveller by nature, and took on commissions throughout Europe.  At the height of his successes he was painting for Europe's aristocracy, anyone who was anyone knew of the painter's talent for portraits.  Heather is featuring his works of two royal families in England on her blog. You may recognize some of his more famous works, this regal portrait of Empress Maria Theresa and Louis XV's daughter Adelaid de France, in Turkish dress.


At the time, he was most famous for his pastel drawings. It is easy to see why when looking at the delicate portraits he did of Marie Antoinette's brothers and sisters.  Each daughter and son of the Empress Maria Theresa is shown showing off their many accomplishments, from writing to drawing.  Some even play with a little toy, no doubt used to subdue an impatient child. 

This impressive collection demonstrates the artist eye for light and color. Using only a small palette his figures seem to glow under lights, their skin almost translucent and very soft. With tones of black and white, and a little red, the figures have depth and a lot of character.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Anne d'Autriche. 1762, Black chalk, red chalk, graphite pencil, watercolor, gouache glaze and washes of white chalk. Museum of Art and History, Geneva. 
Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Christine d'Autriche. 1762, Black chalk, red chalk, graphite pencil and watercolor glazes.  Museum of Art and History, Geneva. 

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Elisabeth d'Autriche.  1762, Black chalk, red chalk, graphite pencil, watercolor glazes and watercolor. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Amélie d'Autriche. 1762, red chalk, black chalk, graphite pencil and watercolor . Museum of Art and History, Geneva.


Portrait de l'archiduc Pierre-Léopold d'Autriche, futur empereur Léopold II d'Allemagne. 1762, Chalk, black chalk, graphite pencil and watercolor. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Jeanne-Gabrielle d'Autriche. 1762, Chalk, black chalk, graphite pencil and watercolor glazes. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Josèphe d'Autriche. 1762, red chalk, black chalk, graphite pencil and watercolor glazes. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Caroline d'Autriche. 1762, red and black chalk, watercolor and pastel. Museum of Art and History, Geneva. 
 
Portrait de l'archiduc Ferdinand-Karl-Anton d'Autriche. 1762, Black chalk, red chalk, pencil and graphite gray glaze. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduchesse Marie-Antoinette. 1762, Black chalk, graphite pencil, watercolor and pastel. Museum of Art and History, Geneva.

Portrait de l'archiduc Maximilien-Franz d'Autriche. 1762, Black chalk, red chalk, graphite pencil, pastel and watercolor glazes.  Museum of Art and History, Geneva.
Can't get enough?  Tomorrow an exhibition of Liotard's works opens up at the Musée d'art et d'histoire in Genève.  The show is called Jean-Étienne Liotard: An exceptional display, and will run from May 26, 2011 through October 2, 2011. Worth the visit, and by the way, it is free! If you go, let us know all about it!

Musée d'art et d'histoire, Rue Charles-Galland 2
Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Monday
website

5 comments

  1. These are fantastic! I love it that they're all paintings of them at about the same age. Thanks for posting this:)

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  2. Lovely portraits! I love the softness of the pastel colors. It's, as you've said, very translucent-like, but at the same time, glowing with life.

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  3. Thanks for posting. I've always thought these were such a fascinating series of portraits - though Jean-Ettienne does seem to have trouble drawing younger children. The proportions get more and more peculiar as you go down the line!

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  4. I love it! I notice how these adorable kids look a wee bit older than their age, i dont know if i'm the only one who notice that. Btw, which portrait was playing a small toy? is little max? i couldnt see a toy in any of the portraits.. thank you for sharing it! love those portraits.

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  5. Wow, they really all look alike!

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