October 31, 2011

Madame de Pompadour and Louis XV

"He [Louis XV] made up a table of comète [card game] with Madame de Pompadour, Coigny, Madame de Brancas, and the Comte de Noailles, the King rather enjoyed that sort of little game, but Madame de Pompadour seemed to hate gambling and to be trying to put him off it."

from a letter by the Prince de Croÿ, dated 30 January 1747

Art: haunting works

Francisco de Goya, Half-submerged Dog. Painting, 1819-1823. Museo del Prado

Inspired by Heather's The Witching Hour post, I thought I would ask you if there were any paintings you find spooky, creepy or scary??  These can be from the 18th century or any other period.

For me, Goya's Half Submerged Dog made quite the chilling impression. It is displayed among the Black Paintings at el Prado museum.  In this very eerie room you find Saturn Eating His Children and Witches Sabbath (below). The exhibit of the works is really quite haunting....Have you seen them?

Francisco Goya, The Witches Sabbath. Painting, 1823. Museo del Prado.

Happy Halloween!

October 28, 2011

The Devil in the Holy Water is now a paperback

Just heard that Uni Pennsylvania Press is releasing The Devil in the Holy Water as a paperback book,  so if you didn't pick up the hardcover version, now you can get the more affordable version!

Why would you be interested in this book?

It starts during the age of Louis XIV, the Sun King, and discuses various publications that circulated (illegally) about the court. This didn't stop when Louis XV took the throne, and by the time Marie Antoinette and her girlfriends were the center of attention, they were also mentioned in or even topics of salacious books, pamphlets, and notes. Who was saying what about who? Who believed what stories? Some were even published in riddles so you would have to work hard to figure out what countess was having an affair with so-and-so. Interested now?

Check out my full review here: The Devil in the Holy Water, or the Art of Slander from Louis XIV to Napoleon

Pick up the paperback edition of this book here

October 26, 2011

Before an 18th century Ball #art

Jean-François de Troy, Before the Ball. Oil on canvas, 1735. The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center

I absolutely love this painting, and thought I would share it.  So much to do and excitement before a ball, you can feel the anticipation from everyone.  Evening has fallen, and we are getting ready....the food, the drinks, the dancing, friends, fashions...!

The artist de Troy was known for the details he included in settings, furniture and fabrics. He painted in large and small formats and received a royal commission to paint a series of allegorical works for the royal apartments in Versailles in 1734.

He really captures the excitement of the moment, before the ball!

October 24, 2011

An account of a Masquerade in Turin

Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain, Three Figures Dressed for a Masquerade. Oil on canvas, 1740s.  The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)

Thanks to the art of journal keeping and letter writing during the 18th century, I have come across a very interesting account of a Masquerade thrown in Turin in 1774.  This masquerade was notably different from fine ones thrown in Paris or London as mentioned below.  From Paris today, Turin is about 480 miles away.
...there is to be some sort of a Masquerade, but as it differs very much from anything you understand by a Masquerade, it will be necessary I shou'd explain it.

Everybody was allw'd to come in that paid the price, which, as it was very low, the Company was of all sorts, but not in the Boxes; they all belong to the people of fashion.

Everybody was allowed  (like the Masquerades at Florence) to be in their usual dresses or in Mask, so the Company was composed of Masks & no Masks, but the principal part of the Masquerade consisted of twenty Gentlemen who came in at first all as Shades, & concealed in their shadow dresses the Materials for erecting a Temple, which rose in a few minutes opposite to the Box of the Princess de Carignan & in large letters were wrote 'A la Beaute.'

The Shades then became ancient dresses of the different Nations & very fine ones. They all proceeded to the box of the Princess of Carignan, who was a very fine mask, & all the Ladies who were with her were in different dresses: they were all presented with large noesgays of Artificial flowers, after which they returned where they had erected their Temple, which disappear'd as quick as it rose.
I love the image presented of the twenty men, who clearly preplanned the event knowing the Princess de Carignan was going to be in attendance.  They planned to arrive as Shades in long robe like costumes, so that they could easily hide the fabric and items needed to create a 'temple' which I imagine included sheets with the words le beaute on them. All directed at the pretty lady, imagine if it were you!

October 20, 2011

He just said what? Louis XV

Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait de Louis XV. Oil on canvas, 1715. Palace of Versailles.

"Oh my god! How ugly he is!"

Young King Louis XV exclaimed this upon seeing the unfortunate Bishop of Metz.  Although Louis was just a child at the time, he already had the habit of shouting out is opinions (whether good or bad).  The Bishop was not too pleased with the blunt outburst.  He curtly noted "That little boy has been very badly brought up."

October 12, 2011

Decorative Arts: A perfect gift to her mother, the Empress of Austria

Martin van Meytens II, Portrait of the Empress 
Maria-Theresa of Austria. Oil on canvas,
c. 1745-1750. The John and Mable Ringling
Museum of Art.
Don't you just love furniture?! Having exquisite pieces not only enhanced your home in the 18th century, but spoke to your tastes in the finer things, making a statement to all of your friends and visitors.  One one occasion in 1777, Marie Antoinette herself had a  beautiful table created, which she thought ideal for her mother.

"How grateful I am to you: the magnificent table arrived in perfect condition ten days ago and everyone is admiring this marvelous piece of work."

Marie Theresa to Marie Antoinette, 4 March 1777.

I do not know what the table looked like exactly, but here are some fine examples of tables that were popular during this time.  ...And remember, the next time you need to get your mum a gift....a fine piece of furniture is always a pleaser!

German (Bamberg?), Card Table. Carved walnut frame; pine top with marquetry of walnut, figured walnut, boxwood, alder burl, birch, olive wood, plum, padauk wood, yew, green-stained poplar, and other marquetry woods; lined with modern velvet; iron fittings, ca. 1745-1750.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

France, 18th century, Console Table.  Material carved and painted wood, c. 1720.  The Cleveland Museum of Art.


Anonymous, 18th century (French), Console Table of Forged Iron. Frame of forged iron, varnished black; mounts of gilt repoussé iron; top and plinth of dark and light green marble flecked with red, c. 1730-1735. The Frick Collection.

Bernard Peridiez, European; French, 1723 - 1776, Work Table.  Wood marquetry with gilt bronze mounts, c. 1760. The Cleveland Museum of Art

October 10, 2011

Caption this 18th century drawing

Anonymous (French), Two dancing male figures in a landscape. Gouache on paper, 18th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 Leave your caption  for this work in the comments section.  Wit is appreciated, have a good Monday!
/heads out to dance in the landscape

October 09, 2011

Attend a Chasse Royale á Versailles

Nicolas Lancret, The Picnic after the Hunt. Oil on canvas c. 1740. The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.)

An event is being held today in the forest of Versailles, yes, a Chasse Royale! But you can attend if you want, admission is free because it is all happening in....Second Life!

Versailles has recently been rebuilt in Second Life and the entire space is very impressive.  The design of the building and even the textures are spot on. Worth logging in and checking out the building and gardens.

And here is your official invite!


Sa majesté très chrétienne Louis XV par la grâce de Dieu Roi de France et Navarre vous invite à la chasse royale qui aura lieu dans la forêt de Versailles ce dimanche à partir de 8 heures (8 PM SLT)

His most christian Majesty Louis XV by the grace of God Kind of France and Navarre invites you to his royal hunt which will take place this Sunday (9th) starting at 8 PM (SLT).

Historically accurate riding habit required!

Check it out: http://ning.it/o4lyhS
Here are some pictures from June's Chasse Royale:

Chasse Royale á Versailles, Second Life. June 20, 2011. Photo by Mercury Gandt.

Chasse Royale á Versailles, Second Life. June 20, 2011. Photo by Mercury Gandt.

And inside Versailles:

Grand Salon de Musique, Second Life. October 2, 2011. Photo by Le Marquis.

You can also visit Marie Antoinette's Petit Hameau, and of course, Petit Trianon!
Petit Tiranon, Second Life. October 3, 2011. Photo by Paul François de La Vauguyon.
Reader Francois de Quelen has been kind enough to share an album dedicated to Versailles in Second Life with us! Check out the album here: Versailles Collection. Here is an image from the collection:

The Great Hall of Mirrors, Versailles, Second Life. September 14, 2011. Photo by Francois de Quelen.

Be sure to share your thoughts on Versailles in Second Life if you get a chance to visit it!

October 07, 2011

The lady gets her way

"He [Cardinal de Rohan] thought to obtain favour in the attempt to effect a marriage between the Archduchess Elizabeth, the elder sister of Marie Antoinette, and Louis XV, an affair which was awkwardly undertaken and which Madame du Barry had no difficulty in crushing."

Exceprt form Campan, Jeanne Louise Henriette. 2008. The Private Life of Marie Antoinette. Stroud, Gloucestershire: History Press. 

I love this! 

PS- Girl eBooks has this one available for free

October 03, 2011

The Fashionable Male: Fabre d'Eglantine

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Fabre d'Eglantine.  Oil on canvas, around 1775-94. Musée du Louvre, Paris, France

This week's fashionable male is Philippe François Nazaire Fabre d'Eglantine as seen here, by famed painter Greuze.  His simple black frock is offset by a striking gold turned collar against a white cravat. Simple and bold. Fabre started a career as an actor but soon turned his interest to writing plays.  Many of his works enjoyed success in France.

He took up a political career during the revolution, voting for the death of Louis XVI.  At the National Assembly he gave a grand speech on the role of women (as it should be at home not political). Danton even selected Fabre for his own secretary. At nearly 54 he was executed by the guillotine on charges of criminality and fraud.