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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!
in 1781, Marie Antoinette hosted a masked ball to welcome the Grand Duke Paul and his wife, the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna. Marie Antoinette appeared as Gabrielle d’Estrées, a mistress of Henry IV of France, with a costume of silver gauze and a black hat with massive white plumes fastened by diamonds - including the famous Pitt (or Regent) diamond.
Above: A 19th century engraving and portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées, Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette, and the Pitt (more commonly know as the Regent) diamond.
Marie Antoinette with her two eldest, Marie-Thérèse Charlotte and Louis Joseph. Portrait by Adolph Ulrich Wertmüller (1785).
I love French history!
Marie Antoinette en robe redingote
This is fantastic.
Sorry for the break! Here, have some more chemises:
Marie Antoinette and Her Children by unknown artist (I couldn’t find one - do you know it?), 1790