Museums and Art

Marie-Adelaide French in Turkish costume, Jean-Etienne Lyotard, 1753

Marie-Adelaide French in Turkish costume, Jean-Etienne Lyotard, 1753

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Marie-Adelaide French in Turkish costume - Jean-Etienne Lyotard. 50x56

Born in Switzerland, Jean-Etienne Lyotard (1702-1789) studied painting in France, then traveled and returned to Paris. There he acquired a patroness in the person of Madame de Pompadour, who set the tone in French high society. Since then, the artist painted many beauties of the royal family and the ladies shining at the court. One of these portraits represents Marie Adelaide French, daughter of King Louis XV.

Lyotard portrayed a lovely young creature sitting on a sofa with a book in his hand and dressed in a Turkish costume. After several years spent in Constantinople, the artist was addicted to oriental outfits and dressed himself in them. Drawing Maria Adelaide, the painter conveyed the princess's thin, velvety skin and the light fabric of her costume. The light from the window falls so that the girl’s face remains in the shade, and her cheek, small ear with a hanging earring and neck are lit, which makes the image even more tender and touching. The softness of the sofa cushions reinforces the mood of the bliss spilled in this picture, but at the same time, Lyotard introduced some “contradictions” into his work: Maria Adelaide, dressed as a masquerade ball, sits on the couch, plunged into reading, which is not enough matches the scent of sensuality spilled around her. This counterpoint creates a slight tension in the picture, which was characteristic of Rococo art.

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