The Artist

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) was the daughter of an artist, Louis Vigée. She established herself as a professional painter at the age of fifteen. In 1776, Mademoiselle Vigée married a distant nephew of Charles Le Brun, former First Painter of Louis XIV. Vigée-Lebrun was the same age as the king and queen, and despite being of middle-class birth, she became the official portraitist and a personal friend of Marie-Antoinette. In 1783, Vigée-Lebrun was named a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, an extraordinary accomplishment for a woman at that time.

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