Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

Jacques-Louis David, Madame de Verninac, 1798

Thank-you Mademoiselle Poirot for reminding me that today is (or rather was) Bastille Day! In honour of France's national holiday, I wanted to share a favourite painting by David; that of Henriette Delacroix, later Madame de Verninac. Whatever side of the revolutionary fence you sit upon (or even if you sit right on top of the fence itself), and whatever you may feel about David's actions during the French Revolution, his painting of Madame Verninac is sensitively executed, accentuating her voluptuous beauty while promoting the artist's fervour for the neo-classical. In Henriette Verninac, we see the culmination of the years of radical political change reflected succinctly and perfectly in her choice of clothing: simple and clean with minimal adornment, hair unpowdered and dressed in a Grecian style and the hint of a glow in the cheeks. I find this painting almost jumps out from the screen; the fabric seems so sumptuously tactile and the skin tone so real.


  1. Bonjour Laura, what a great choice of painting, she looks very elegant and quietly confident in her simple dress and shawl. So much better than all the overly adorned and huge "costumes" that preceeded this sort of dressing. Thanks for your comments on Bastille Day and the mention of my blog :-) Love from London x

  2. Very glad that you like it. She does exude a certain confidence, doesn't she? Thank you for reminding me of Bastille Day, I think your blog is lovely :) x