Portrait of Madame Tallien
On View: Beaux-Arts Court, North, 3rd Floor
Madame Tallien both witnessed and participated in the dramatic events of 1789 to 1804, including the fall of the French monarchy, the French Revolution, the birth of a new republic, and the declaration of the Empire. Divorced from her aristocratic first husband, she married Jean-Lambert Tallien, a rising political star, whom she urged to end the Reign of Terror, the Revolution’s bloodiest episode. In the late 1790s the transparent linens of her classically inspired dress and her liaisons with powerful men scandalized polite society. In 1805 she married for the third time, to the Belgian Count of Caraman, later the Prince of Chimay. Duvivier paints the countess in a chaste version of the high-waisted dress she made famous. The painter emphasizes her elevated status with a careful rendering of her elegant accessories and furnishings, including the sheen of the velvet cushions and draperies, the smooth, patterned surface of the wood settee, and the paisley of the rare cashmere shawl.
Oil on canvas
49 1/2 x 36 3/4 in. (125.7 x 93.3 cm)
Frame: 57 x 44 1/4 x 3 3/4 in. (144.8 x 112.4 x 9.5 cm) (show scale)
Signed and dated lower left: "J.B. Duvivier/1806"
Healy Purchase Fund B
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Jean-Bernard Duvivier (Belgian, 1762-1837). Portrait of Madame Tallien, 1806. Oil on canvas, 49 1/2 x 36 3/4 in. (125.7 x 93.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Healy Purchase Fund B, 1989.28
overall, 1989.28_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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