Ò Read ↠´ Souvenirs de Madame Louise-Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (Tomes 1,2 & 3) by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun ↠´ I found it fascinating, although was hindered just a bit by the translation, which seemed to be stilted at times, and inaccurate at others With our modern worldview, we often assume that all women of previous centuries were downtrodden and uncelebrated This may be true for many, but was certainly not the case for Vigee LeBrun She was an incredibly successful portrait artist in 18th century France, and fame followed her throughout Europe She was not the only feminine success found within these pages she wasted no opportunity to mention other famous and infamous women of her day, pointing out their accomplishments and accolades Among them were other artists, authors, poets, musicians, composers, actresses, and politicians She herself hobnobbed with just about every royal family in Europe, and her memoirs were as much about them as they were about herself She also traveled extensively quite the feat for a woman in that time and place, or so one would think One reminder that women didn t have quite the independence they desired was that her husband and stepfather managed her financial affairs without any input from her To our modern sensibilities, it seems cruel that every franc she earned for her art went straight to her husband Until she left him, that is Then she lived as independently as any woman might desire I did like her descriptions of certain scenes, definitely written with an artist s eye You could almost place yourself in the ballroom or on the banks of a river.
I was hoping the memoir of Marie Antoinette s portrait artist would have gone deeper than this Instead of exploring emotions or the tumultuous events of her day, or even her painting techniques, it was of a journal of social engagements which barely kept me turning the pages.

Elizabeth Louise Vig e Lebrun 1755 1842 was a prolific French portrait painter to royalty and the rich and famous She was highly successful from an early age, and her portraits became desirable when she was still in her teens By the time she was in her twenties she was painting portraits for Queen Marie Antoinette However, we all know what happened to the latter, but fortunately Mme Lebrun she was by now married managed to escape from France She left behind her husband, but took her young daughter with her After that there is hardly any mention of her husband With the amount of work she did she was able to support herself financially Her travels first took her to Italy where she visited various cities, but she also visited other cities such as Vienna and Prague before leaving for Russia.
She settled in St Petersburg for a considerable period of time where she lived during the reign of both Catherine the Great, and the Emperor Paul Once again she quickly established herself as portrait painter to royalty She remained in Russia until after the murder of Paul.
Initially returning briefly to France, she went to live in England for a while She found English customs very odd, but got used to it after a while Finally she returned to France on a permanent basis.
There are some interesting tidbits in the book, but overall it didn t really hold my interest as some of the content descended into little than celebrity gossip What was interesting was the mention of events from someone who actually lived at the time, albeit from someone who viewed the world from a perch of privilege.
There are 18 pages of her works listed at the end of the book, and there are several black and white reproductions of her portraits.
Self portrait of Mme Vig e Lebrun and her daughterPortrait of Lady Emma Hamilton A primeira parte do livro composta por um conjunto de cartas dirigidas Princesa Karukin com quem Vig e Le Brun travou conhecimento na R ssia Nas cartas a pintora recorda a sua inf ncia e juventude, a vida familiar e o despertar para a pintura A morte da princesa p s fim correspond ncia entre as duas, mas, instada por amigos a pintora continua a passar a papel as suas recorda es.
Estas mem rias n o t m um conte do marcadamente intimista Le Brun fala dos pais, do marido e tamb m da sua filha, mas o grosso da obra debru a se sobre a felicidade que foi para si dedicar se pintura, as pessoas que conheceu e, uma vez em It lia, as maravilhas da regi o.
Le Brun casou sobretudo para fugir ao ambiente familiar, ap s a morte do pai e subsequente segundo casamento da m e As linhas que dedica ao marido, pelo menos neste primeiro volume, s o poucas e sobretudo relacionadas com o facto dele se apropriar constantemente do dinheiro que ela ganhava Em rela o filha Julie a situa o diferente poss vel perceber a ternura e dedica o que existia de parte a parte e o orgulho de Le Brun nas capacidades de escrita e imagina o da crian a Ali s, a pintora retratou as v rias vezes juntas e a pequena acompanhou sempre a m e nas suas viagens.
A escrita de Le Brun detalhada, minuciosa e emocionada evidente que a pintora apreciou as rela es que teve entre os nobres e a pr pria fam lia real francesa pintou Maria Antonieta cuja delicadeza e gra a gaba , sentindo se magoada e revoltada com o fim que grande parte deles que descreve como pessoas am veis e cordiais, de grande generosidade e esp rito teve ap s a revolu o A sua descri o da vida das classes sociais elevadas em Fran a feita com um efeito de c psula, uma vez que jamais a pintora estabelece qualquer compara o com as dificuldades da generalidade da popula o Ali s, esse elemento humano est igualmente presente no relato da sua viagem pela pen nsula italiana Recordando Roma, Parma, N poles e Floren a Le Brun fala das pessoas que a conheceu e com grande profus o por menores nos encantos est ticos da paisagem e constru es italianas Mas pouco, e quase sempre pondo a t nica no pitoresco, sobre a generalidade da popula o Isso n o retira em nada o prazer de ler estas mem rias Para al m da fluidez da escrita e da riqueza de detalhes elas s o tamb m um documento hist rico de grande valor Este primeiro volume foi uma boa leitura Termina com o an ncio da viagem da pintora e da sua filha para a ustria Resta me, pois, aguardar a publica o do II volume.
After viewing Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun s retrospective show in Paris last fall, I was determined to learn about this woman painter She was born to a middle class family in France Through sheer will and determination she became a successful painter in a man s world Her portraits of Marie Antoinette alone guarantee her place in history.
Lebrun s memoirs are delicious She describes life in a breezy, chatty way with an eye toward telling the reader about the secrets of the rich and famous We read about food, fashion, parties and travel Especially amusing are her comments about the other women of the time For example, Lebrun savages Emma Lyon, mistress of Lord Nelson I had to ask myself why Is it because Lyon went from rags to riches using her beauty to lure men Was Elizabeth Lebrun being loyal to the noble wives that comprised her customer base So fabulous that this woman had the power of her talent to lead her through Europe and Russia making enough in fees to live well I loved this book.
I must thank the community of volunteers who digitized this book How wonderful we can read this book for free.
Overall very charming She played the networking game the way it was played then and she was good at it, so there s a lot of name dropping She threw her lot with the aristocracy and one gets the sense that for her only people with titles are real people A very vivid picture of the era and the manners though A very humane view of the upper classes in the middle of the seismic changes of the French Revolution.
I don t feel this was the best translation, as it was hard to read and there were some grammatical errors Having said that, I enjoyed reading about the life of this famous artist in her own words, giving me a glimpse of life some 200 years ago It s really interesting to see how human nature has been the same for centuries, but the way people entertained themselves and treated each other has changed quite a bit.
Madame Lebrun enjoyed independence in a time when most women had very few options She loved what she did for a living, was very good at it, and was paid well for her work what a concept She got to travel a lot and spent years living in various countries around Europe It s great to read her descriptions of what life was like in Catherine s Russia and 19th century London Overall a lovely autobiography.
As much as I admire for what she accomplished as an 18th century female artist, I was a little disappointed in this memoir Vigee Lebrun would put today s worst best name dropper to shame Despite surviving much political upheaval, a bad marriage and travels throughout Europe, the memoir reads like a litany of the royals and aristocrats with whom she hobnobbed and how beautiful and charming the ladies always were She does have moments where she succeeded in painting with words as effectively as on canvas, particularly in her descriptions of London and Russia Overall, I would recommend this book as a reference rather than as a pleasure read.
Lisabeth Vig E Le Brun, N E Louise Lisabeth Vig E Le Avril Paris, Et Morte Dans La M Me Ville Le Mars , Est Une Artiste Peintre Fran Aise, Consid R E Comme Une Grande Portraitiste De Son Temps Elle A Pu Tre Compar E Quentin De La Tour Ou Jean Baptiste Greuze Disappointing Vig e Lebrun is cited as one of the most important female painters of the 18th century so I expected her memoir to extensively describe her training, technique and love of art nope This book was nothing than court gossip 75% of the book felt merely like a record of compliments bestowed upon her by various courtiers Despite all of this, at least it was an easy book to get through It was interesting too to see what daily life was like for an upper class woman of that time.