Commentary: Huntington museum lands a smashing gift, painted by court artist to Marie Antoinette
(CNSNews.com) – The latest installment in the “artists’ colonies” movement – and a gift that must surely make Marie Antoinette smile – is to be displayed at the Huntington Library in California this week.
The gift is a canvas painted by the court artist to Marie Antoinette, which was painted in the days after the fall of the Bastille, when Marie Antoinette and her brother were exiled to the Chateau de Vincennes, and her father began to take an interest in art.
Marie Antoinette (center, middle row, second from right) holding hands with her father, Emperor Charles Louis, King Louis XVI, and sister Caroline, known as Madame Royale, during a visit to Louis XVI and his family at the Chateau de Vincennes, in what is now France. (Photo: Wikimedia)
The painting was to be exhibited at the museum in conjunction with its latest exhibition, “The Family,” on October 3, but it has now been re-acquired and it is set to be exhibited on September 29 for the first time since a fire destroyed the Chateau de Vincennes in April, 1789.
The painting is a portrait of the queen and her sister Caroline, and it is known as a “Gloriette” because it was signed by one of the queens’ ladies-in-waiting, Madame d’Aulnoy, and presented to her by Marie Antoinette to commemorate her sister’s visit to Paris.
In the painting, the queen and Caroline are in a tableau, with the younger queen holding one of Caroline’s hands, a pose that reflects a recent conversation the queen and her sister were having in which the older queen asked, “What will you wish for if you have nothing?” The queen answered, “I