Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Portrait Wednesday: Maria Theresa of Savoy by Giuseppe Duprà, circa 1762

Portrait Wednesday: a day for sharing portraits of Marie Antoinette and her contemporaries.

This lovely royal portrait by Giuseppe Duprà is a depiction of a young Maria Theresa of Savoy, better known as the comtesse d'Artois, circa 1762. This portrait dates to about 10 years before she was sent to France to become the bride of the comte d'Artois. 

Giuseppe Duprà, for his part, completed numerous paintings of royal families, with a heavy emphasis on the Savoyard princesses. Seven of these portraits still hang today in the Palazzina di caccia of Stupinigi, or the one of the former hunting lodges of the royal house of Savoy. 

A closer look at the portrait reveals a wealth of details signifying the social status of the young girl who was, after all, a princess. Her gown of deep green features rich white or silver embroidery, and is covered with a delicate lace apron and flouncing sleeves. Behind her, a rich blue cloak can be seen with peaks of ermine, one of the foremost types of furs used to signify someone's wealth and status. Her pose is simple and dignified, and most definitely reminiscent of adult portraits of royal and upper-class women in this same era.

About 10 years after this portrait was completed, the Austrian ambassador comte de Mercy would write of the princess--now comtesse d'Artois: " for the comtesse d’Artois, she does not speak, seems interested in nothing, and her look of shyness and indifference is highly unpopular here. [Marie Antoinette] is very kind to her."

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