05.11Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: 05.11

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

May 20, 2011

Ready for the Weekend: it all started with the Duchess of York

I recently saw the Bazar behind the scenes footage from a photo shoot featuring Sarah who was the Duchess of York.  The visual cues connecting the image and scene to the 2006 film Marie Antoinette are obvious.   While one might ponder the deeper meaning of aligning herself with the tragic queen, I was taken by the...cakes and pastries!

I have an occasion to bake for this week and I have been searching far and wide for excellent cake recipes.  (If you have some you should send them to me!)  Last night Sara was kind enough to share a chocolate cake recipe on her blog that sounds divine, so I may have to try that!  So I double checked on the styles and cakes from the 2006 film.

The amazing pastries and confections were created just for the filming by the infamous Laduree bakery in Paris.  Sadly, they do not have a shop near me, but they do feature many of their desserts on the website.  They offer the Marie Antoinette tribute cake, which was featured in the film, and smaller bites. yum...just yum...

I would love to know the price that one of these cakes go for!

Clearly as delicious as lovely.

Have a great weekend, I will be dreaming of cake and champagne!

May 18, 2011

Outside Versailles: Royal Wedding

Film still from Marie Antoinette (2006).

Marie Antoinette's wedding ceremony took place at one in the afternoon, to Louis Auguste.  That night, while the new royal couple celebrated at Versailles with games, dancing and food. 

Outside of Versailles, the people of Paris also celebrated (those who did not try to squeeze their way into Versailles!)  That night, there was not a window or wall to be seen in the great city that did not have a candle burning in honor of the royal wedding.

May 16, 2011

A letter from Maria Theresa

"Your wife, my dear Dauphin, has just parted from me. She was the delight of my life, and I hope that she will be the joy of yours. In this hope have I reared her, because I have long foreseen that she would share your destiny.  I have inspired her with the love of her duties towards you, with a tender and personal regard for you and with the intention of considering and obeying your wishes."

A letter from Maria Theresa to Louis Auguste.
 Challice, Annie Emma Armstrong. 1863. Heroes, Philosophers, and Courtiers of the Time of Louis Xvi, Volume 1. London: Hurst and Blackett.

May 13, 2011

Giveaway winners!

Thank you everyone for entering this years Bloggiversary giveaway! This year is our fun fan giveaway, and I asked readers, why they didn't have a a fan.  Well after reading all the entries, I have decided that you all do have legitimate reasons for not having a fan! Heather and I are getting some of you started by giving out pretty little sandal wood fans (practical and stylish!)

Congratulations to the following readers who will soon have their very own fans, perfect for this summer!
And finally congrats to our grand prize winner who will receive a fan and the Let Them Eat Cake Bon Bon Lip Balm! Blogger 
Thanks for entering and helping Heather and I celebrate 3 years!

**winners: please email me at MarieAntoinetteGossip{at}gmail.com with your mailing address.  Prizes not claimed by Friday May 20, will be offered to a runner up.  Thanks!!

May 11, 2011

Who wore it better?

Where did Marie Antoinette get her innovative fashion sense and style from? Could a little have been from her mother, Empress Maria Theresa?  The Empress was also known to enjoy a good party every now and then. She adored dancing when she was younger, and her particular type of party was the masquerade! Here she is, decked out from head to toe in a Turkish costume, with mask, dressed for such a party.

But who wore it better? Below we have two exquisite portraits of two popular ladies, both in Turkish Costume (all the rage!) reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.  So what do you think? 
Marie Theresa or Madame de Pompadour?

Martin van Meytens, Maria Theresa with a Mask in a Turkish Dress. 1744. Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H.

Charles André van Loo, Sultan's Wife Drinking Coffee. 1755, oil on canvas. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

May 09, 2011

How close we can be...to Marie Antoinette

Campana, Ignace Jean Victor (1744 - 1786). A fine and important miniature of Queen Marie-Antoinette, c.1780-85, w/c on ivory. Private Collection.

In the scheme of things 200 years is not that long and sometimes I consider this...  This little story is just an example of how we are not so far removed from those 18th century days, when Marie Antoinette organized and attended parties, and everyone wore their best feathers for a night out.

"[F.J.W.] Roughton [a Fellow of Trinity] has a similar story from his schooldays. His father had been a G.P. in the Kettering area and had gone around his practice in a pony and trap, sometimes taking the young Roughton with him. 
On one such occasion (about 1906) they visited an old unmarried brother and sister. While Roughton senior was attending to the brother, the sister took young Roughton on one side and said she would tell him a story which he should try to remember.
Charles Eisen, Dance in a Ballroom. 1740s, pen and ink, brown wash and watercolors on paper. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England.
When she was young, she was taken to a dance and was asked to dance by an old man who told her that he used to be in the army and had served in France in his youth. Whilst in Paris he attended a grand ball at which he danced with Marie Antoinette.

Roughton’s visit must have been around 1906 and if the officer and the old lady had each reached 85 years of age, the dance could have taken place 130 years before i.e. around 1776. …two long lives take us back many years."

Paley Johnson celebrated his ninetieth birthday. Speech delivered on 15 July
2007, Trinity College Cambridge

May 06, 2011

3 years already? Let̕ s Celebrate!!

This weekend will be nothing but fresh berries and champagne, with plenty to go around! Did I mention royal cupcakes?  If you have not yet heard, Heather and I are celebrating 3 years of blogging, and hosting an online bloggiversary bash! Which really just means fun and games for you!

So many great things have come from the blogs since that sunny May back in 08! I love the conversations we have here and over at Georgiana's Gossip Guide, and Twitter as well, for those of you there. I hope everyone has had as much fun here as I have!  In short, thanks for hanging out and taking part in our little salons, keep the humor, wit, and knowledge coming! 

So, each bloggiversary we try to do a fun giveaway, and this year we are focusing on fans. Practical for warm days and gossiping about the fabulous past with your friends! Every lady should have a fan in her possession.  In fact, I would be surprised if you didn't!

That is where the giveaway comes in to play!

How To Enter:
To win one of four fans I am giving away, simply comment on this blog stating why you don't have a fan.

"I left it on a train in France. Oops!"

Or Heather's reason:
"some prossie broke mine!" 

One 'grand' prize winner will receive a fan and Let Them eat Cake! Bon Bon Lip Balm from Tokyo Milk! yum! I mean, this is a birthday after all!  French Vanilla, shredded Coconut and a hint of cocoa...for a perfect kiss!

Winners will be announced Friday May 13, Good luck!

May 04, 2011

Coronation of Louis XII

Louis XII reigned from 1498-1515. During his rule, he kept France alive by holding many royal ceremonies and rituals, proper etiquette required!   His coronation ceremony was marked with tradition; it began at Rheims, followed by Saint Denis and then Paris.

As he entered the city with both royal and city officials, he was dressed in dazzling armor, representing himself as both a military and government leader.  One supports the other, and the overall image was of a powerful man whose authority was not doubted.

He also had an overly elaborate tableau displaying a working of icons to represent his family.  He had inherited the throne from his late cousin, Henry VIII.  He claimed two titles as both King of France and the Duke of Milan, and his tableau reinforced his family’s roots in Milan through heraldic imagery.

Having this large image on display during his parade told the people of France (literate or illiterate) this proud and powerful ruler can rightfully claim both France and Milan.  And what a way to make a statement! The little sensitive spot, lay with the current Duke of Milan! Ludovico Sforza. oops?  It did not take long before Louis XII made his move.  He entered Milan in 1499, and successfully captured it, much celebrating ensued!

Names sound familiar? We have recently met this Duke of Milan in The Borgias (watch full episodes here) I have been watching the entire season, well made, great art references and overall a well done historical drama.

May 02, 2011

Video Game: Marie Antoinette and the American War of Independence

Marie Antoinette has now inspired a video game for the Nintendo DS system (trailer below), which I was lucky enough to try out!  First off I will admit that my little Nintendo DS Lite has been one of those purchases I have not regretted, and well worth the money! I love all the games I have including my cooking game that has taught me a thing or two...

So the new game is called Marie Antoinette and the American War of Independence.

The educational game sends you time travelling along with Oscar (smarty pants side-kick to the brainy professor) ((if you liked the Professor Layton games this is similar!)) back to 1781.  The adventure takes place on water, in American and, of course, all the way to Versailles!

You will meet many famous characters from the past such as Washington, La Fayette, Rochambeau etc., and you will learn a little bit about each, and their roles during the period.  The game is full of mini games, riddles and quizzes that you must pass in order to move on to the next adventure.  You will need to know a thing or two about the 18th century to pass these, but if you don't know the answers you always get another chance!  Some of the activities reminded me of the mini-games in Mario Party, and I have a feeling not only the kids will enjoy this one.

One thing I wished was improved is the soundtrack.  I believe gaming is a full experience and if the music isn't perfect, it affects the overall experience.  I have played several games on my DS with excellent soundtracks such as Harvest Moon and Professor Layton & the Diabolical Box.  It would be wonderful if the music for Marie Antoinette & the American War of Independence was a little stronger.  The video game overall is still very entertaining!

I am working on my game now, and I admit I have yet to reach Versailles but I am well on my way! I think now that the holiday has passed I will be able to sail through.  Why am I excited to get to Versailles?  You get to "meet Marie-Antoinette in her elegant world at Petit Trianon castle. But be careful! A mysterious secret society is acting in the shadows…"  The purpose of the game is to find traitors and save the Queen.  Will you be playing?

Check out the trailer:

Where to buy (for Nintendo DS):
Marie Antoinette and the American War of Independence

You may also want to check out these games for the PC:
Versailles Mysteries I   ...and my little post and trailer of it here
Versailles Mysteries II