Tenacious crafted skill is a soft feminine breath inhaling sharply etched presence among elaborate situation. With background walls painted in warm matte tones such as Venetian red and cinnamon brown to give mesmerizing paintings a valid space to occupy, revolutionary Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, one of France's finest earlier female artists, has a time-honored retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hung until May 15th, on lower level behind white marble sculpture land, neoclassical lovers, traditionalist academia buffs, and painting enthusiasts have been granted an astounding opportunity. For this special exhibition photography is prohibited-- both unfortunate and fortuitous. This humbling request asks viewers to grasp at memory, to keep luminous beauty stored so close that belted glory cannot come unbuckled upon fateful exit.
Therefore, to truly comprehend utmost significance of this talented woman's tremendous art canon contribution, to fully appreciate her important legacy, is to choose proper words regarding work left behind, including private collected pieces never before seen on the east side of Atlantic Ocean. Vigée Le Brun's sophisticated oeuvre features over one hundred masterfully detailed paintings and pastel drawings. Ubiquitous lines cross evocative boundaries between Rococo and Baroque elements, showing frank interest in both portraiture and environmental surrounding with excessive attention to technical accuracy. From rosy cherub pink to dreamy turquoise concoction, vibrant candy flavored color schemes unearth undeniable yearning to further study formulaic properties of such richly-engaging-guarantee-to-rotten-teeth palette. Luscious high hued fabrics appearing silken, ruffled, and velvety to touch are realistic shifts playing deceptive games in light and shadow.
First part of Vigée Le Brun's chronological timeline shares her defiant pursuit to be treated with respect and honor, eventually receiving a license to paint and become a member of the prestigious Academie. Esteemed nobility are her earliest clientele until Marie Antoinette, notoriously described as a frivolous narcissistic queen of perfidy, obtains Vigée Le Brun as official portraitist. This is considered powerful position to become court painter, rarely a woman on top of that, which elevates status and influence quite remarkably. She becomes her patron's confidante, entrusted to royal secrets, interweaving extravagant tales via paintbrush. For example, Salon rejected French queen in a modest chemise portrait, deemed scandalous at the time, appears next to acceptably clothed successor. Both share Antoinette's quarter view gaze with a carefree hand holding vivaciously plump flowers.
After fleeing Paris prior to Antoinette's gulliotine, Vigée Le Brun finds other wealthy benefactors due to impressive widespread reputation. She remains capturing distinguished, educated young women in rather compelling believability. These spry, lovely women, with their long hair, moist parted mouths and penchant for roses, are not lustful objects meant for male desire. Although Antoinette likely craved that position in her isolated portraits, these later subjects relish in the world of delicious books and picturesque landscape. Motherhood is important also, bearing a strong foundation in certain works whereas solitude in intelligence opens up another kind of dialogue altogether. Colors are still vivid and wonderful, making it near impossible for eyes to look away from quixotic verisimilitude. To have known that a woman could authenticate creamy faces dipped in the blushing vibrance of life is enough reason to become utterly obsessed, besotted in fact.
At finale, forced to retain knowledge beheld, listening ears weren't surprised to hear awestruck gasps. These
frequent audible intervals are a minor distraction bursting out like little nocturnal flies attracted to bright incandescent street lamps. That only defines gratifying depth Vigée Le Brun's brushstrokes have on rapt audience.
It brings notion to return and perhaps coerce memory to carry a little more of the beautiful loaded burden.