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Self-Portrait by Vigée-Lebrun, 1793
A gorgeous selfie by V-L, as usual - though it doesn’t look much like her! I adore the double ribbon closure around the neck of her chemise à la reine.
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and His Wife (Marie-Anne-Pierrette Paulze) by Jacques-Louis David, 1788
This is a flawless chemise dress - even if it was painted by David…
Marie Antoinette en Chemise by Madame Vigée-Le Brun, 1783
My art history professor claims that Jacques-Louis David is responsible for the shift in fashion from the ornate, structured eighteenth century garments to classically-inspired, columnal gowns of the Regency period - but I, however, credit this woman right here. I daresay a woman in power and in the public spotlight had much more stylistic influence than a man painting Roman women on the sidelines of his history paintings, no matter how beautifully rendered his paintings or how popular he was!
Just as a kicker, this portrait predates David’s Oath of the Horatii, showing women in Roman garb, by one year.
EDIT: I meant my prof. is claiming David brought about the shift to EMPIRE/REGENCY style dresses, not that he caused the chemise/gaulle dress trend. My point is that M-A’s initial popularization of the gaulle dress gradually transformed into a more relaxed, simple, and classical mode of fashion that we see in the very late 18th century and first quarter of the 19th century. There were also other factors, like an adoration of classicism (history of the Roman republic, Latin and Greek language, Roman and Greek authors, etc.) in general, and of course the French Revolution’s condemnation of overtly gaudy representation as debased. I don’t know about you, but if my noble friends were being killed as disgustingly ornate examples of society’s downfall, I’d tone down my dress a little too!
Mrs James Arden by Gilbert Stuart, 1794
And to finish this spam off, here’s a very late chemise a la reine from the mid-1790s!
Portrait of a Lady by John Wesbrooke Chandler, very early 1790s
Mrs James Denham by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1789
Miss Cocks and her Niece by Reynolds, c. 1789
The young girl is wearing a chemise a la reine, but I can’t tell what’s going on with Miss Cocks’ dress!
Catherine Chichester, after Romney, c. 1789
Romney’s original, 1789
Catherine Clemens by Romney, c. 1788