A monumental portrait

The Marquise probably wanted her own portrait to be similar in style to that of President de Rieux, a work by La Tour that had been admired at the Salon of 1741.

Both works are monumental in size, ambitious in subject and meticulous in technique. Each scene features a table holding books and a globe, and each sitter holds an open book. The magistrate’s cuffs are depicted as carefully as the lace on the Marquise’s gown. In both paintings, the carpet forms the base of the composition and intensifies the color effects in the overall painting. Maurice Quentin de La Tour painted both the magistrate and the Marquise in the privacy of their own homes, surrounded by significant familiar objects.

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