A stunning fine portrait miniature, beautiful blond with green eyes drops a shoulder of her casual gown to bare a breast. I had thought the painting was slightly earlier, Louis XVI era, but the more I study the Incroyables et Marveilleuses, the more I realize this pose is typical of the women in that movement, and follow the riské neoclassical example of a leader in the fashion style, Thérésa Tallien. Hairstyle, confrontational pose and neoclassical gown all indicate this woman was part of the movement. While it seemed I hardly ever found the women of the movement, it occurs to me I've found many over time, and just didn't match the nude neoclassical pose as typical of the Merveilleuses. The Incroyables (incredible men) and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses "marvelous women"), were members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the French Directory period (1795–1799). Whether as catharsis or in a need to reconnect with other survivors of the Reign of Terror (guillotines) they greeted the new regime with an outbreak of luxury, decadence, and even silliness. They held hundreds of balls and started fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today seem exaggerated, affected, or even effete. They were also mockingly called "incoyable" or "meveilleuse", without the letter R, reflecting their upper class accent in which that letter was lightly pronounced, almost inaudibly. When this period ended, society took a more sober and modest turn.
Members of the ruling classes were also among the movement's leading figures, and the group heavily influenced the politics, clothing, and arts of the period. They emerged from the muscadin, a term for dandyish anti-Jacobin street gangs in Paris from 1793 who were important politically for some two years; the terms are often used interchangeably, though the muscadins were of a lower social background, being largely middle-class. VERY interesting period and fashion, indeed. Most would just refer to her as a 'naughty'.
Very good to excellent condition, from the perfectly preserved painting to the 18k plaque which is adhered to the front of the brass mounting. The higher quality 18k is also a usual feature of the spoiled wealthy youth of excess in luxury and fashion excesses that made up the movement. The old original convex cover glass is also pristine. The mount is the type to have been once atop a snuff box, or perhaps mounted to a black lacquered wooden plaque/frame, typical of the era. Full measurements are noted on the photos.
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