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Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

girl in green


Cultivate what marginalizes us

Little  Women in the 17th century rose to the level of recognition enjoyed by the greatest painters: rarely encouraged to pursue an artistic career, they were also poorly tolerated in this almost exclusively male environment. Yet some have  succeeded in imposing their talent, and Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun is one of them.

Daughter of a pastel painter, she excelled in the art of portraiture to the point of becoming at only 23 years old  the official painter of Queen Marie-Antoinette, to be received five years later - something extremely rare for a  woman - at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. This ascent, as dazzling as it is uninhabitable,

she obviously owes it to her talent and hard work, but also to her audacity and her intelligence. Because instead of trying to  painting in the manner of the most prominent male artists, she was able to assert her feminine sensitivity by realizing in particular  portraits of women, often accompanied by their children,  from which emanate a special sweetness and tenderness. Thus the quality of his portraits of Marie-Antoinette, to speak only of his most illustrious model, is undoubtedly explained by his ability to cast a knowing gaze on the queen to see in her  the wife and the mother, even more than the sovereign. An empathy that a man, naturally, would have struggled to show.

What we can take away:

In some areas, non-compliance with a given standard seems unacceptable. That is why  when an aspect of our personality or our background seems to us to be a handicap, our reflex is to try to erase it. Yet, by cultivating and accentuating precisely what sets us apart, we give ourselves a chance to bring to the world  something unique.

Related theme: Creativity
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