Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun (16 April 1755 – 30 March 1842): Three Self Portraits

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun was the most famous female painter of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In her portraitures she shows herself to be no retiring violet, but returns the Western male gaze in a wonderfully assertive fashion. Here she is in a self-portrait from 1782. Behold a woman of the French Enlightenment:


And here she is in 1790:


And here she is with her daughter Julie (1786):

File:Vigée-Lebrun, Marie Louise Elisabeth - Self-Portrait in a Turban with Her Child - 1786.PNG

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, in her aesthetic self assertion, foreshadowed the coming of Western feminism and the expansion of universal human rights. In an era in which fundamentalists are trying to drive women out of the social sphere, and even behind veils, the gaze of Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun is part of the pushback.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s