Thursday, October 27, 2011

Portrait du Jour: Portrait of an Unknown Woman

Jean Urbain Guerin, 'Portrait of a Woman', end of 18th century. From the reunion des musees nationaux's photo website. Such a lovely portrait! It's a tiny miniature of a very beautiful young woman, but I would guess that it's from the early Empire period due to the ruffled collar and dress cut. I love her pearl earrings and her matching comb perched sideways on her perfect little curly coiffure! The stiff-looking lace attached to the sleeves of her dress were made popular by Josephine and her impeccable designer Leroy, who wished to evoke the enormous collars of 16th century European courts but give them a more modern spin. Josephine had them attached to the sleeves to frame the chest and decollete area. The effect is very subtle and gives a delicate edging to the square-cut dress. I love this lady's creamy dress with gold accents and her pretty gold ribbon just under the bust! Frenchwomen of this era had no rivals for taste and style!