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Portrait of the Comtesse Vilain XIIII and her Daughter

Image credit: The National Gallery, London

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This portrait is one of the first painted by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) when he chose exile in Brussels in 1816 following the fall of Napoleon, whom he had supported, and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Isolated from Paris, David relied mainly on painting portraits of Brussels citizens and fellow Napoleonic émigrés to earn a living. David rarely painted portraits of families and children. Here he captures the affection between the Comtesse, Sophie, and her five-year-old daughter, Marie-Louise, but without sentimentality or idealisation. This restraint and realism are echoed in the plain background and absence of lavish accessories or furnishings. The Comtesse Vilain XIIII had formerly been a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Marie-Louise, Napoleon’s second wife, and had attended the baptism of their son, Napoleon II, the King of Rome.

The National Gallery, London

London

Title

Portrait of the Comtesse Vilain XIIII and her Daughter

Date

1816

Medium

Oil on canvas

Measurements

H 95 x W 76 cm

Accession number

NG6545

Acquisition method

Bought, 1994

Work type

Painting

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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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