Presumed portrait of Louise-Marie-Anne de Bourbon, known as Mademoiselle de Tours. 18th-century French school after Pierre Mignard's work at the Château de Versailles, gouache on ivory.
This attractive portrait has always been considered the effigy of a royal child, due to the model's resemblance to the children of Louis XIV, and the sumptuousness of the costume. Traditionally thought to be mademoiselle de Blois (legitimate daughter of the king and mademoiselle de La Vallière), it is now accepted that this is Louise-Marie-Anne de Bourbon (daughter of Louis XIV and madame de Montespan), who died in 1681 at the age of six.
The symbolism of the attributes leaves little doubt that this is a posthumous portrait:
The soap bubble is not only a poetic motif befitting childlike delicacy, it also symbolizes the fragility of life. The watch on the table evokes the passing of time and completes the allusion. Our miniature replica is missing the parrot, symbolizing redemption, and the little spaniel, an expression of fidelity and a fashionable dog in the reign of Louis XIV.
Finally, as if to underline the cruelty of fate, the Venus shell emphasizes the beauty of the prematurely lost child.
Painting on ivory: Miniatures on ivory were in vogue in the 18th and early 19th centuries, until the invention of photography. The paints used were water-based (watercolor, tempera, gouache or dry color) and applied directly to the ivory. The support was thinned considerably, until it became almost translucent. The ivory was then often mounted on a secondary support of paper or cardboard.
We have chosen to present this miniature painting in a gilded wood casseta frame decorated with bullinato foliage scrolls.
Dimensions: 15 x 11 cm - 30 x 25 cm with frame
Pierre Mignard (Troyes 1612 - Paris 1695) was the brother of Nicolas (known as Nicolas Mignard d'Avignon), also a painter. Like Valentin de Boulogne, Michel Dorigny, Charles Le Brun and Eustache Le Sueur, Pierre Mignard was a pupil of Simon Vouet. Nicknamed "the Roman" because of his long stay in Rome, he divided his career between large-scale historical compositions and the art of portraiture, in which he excelled.
Louis XIV called him back in 1657 to decorate the cupola of the Val-de-Grâce and the small gallery at Versailles. After Charles Le Brun's death, he was appointed first painter to the King and director of the Académie de peinture. Pierre Mignard is considered one of the finest colorists of his time and is distinguished by the naturalness and truth of expression of his figures; his brushwork is mellow and full of grace.
- BAJOU Thierry, La peinture à Versailles XVIIe siècle, Réunion des Musées Nationaux 1998
- Visages du Grand Siècle, le portrait français sous le règne de Louis XIV 1660 - 1715, Exhibition catalog, Somogy Editions d'Art 1997
- BOYER Jean-Claude, Pierre Mignard le Romain, Documentation Française Editions 1997