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Vigée Le Brun offers us a highly calculated image in which she explicitly associates herself with a great artist and his sitter. Looking at us directly with an open expression as she holds the tools of her profession (a palette and brushes), she presents herself as an elegant society lady and as an accomplished professional artist. By posing outdoors – and not, for example, in a studio – she replicates the contrasting light effects in Rubens’s portrait by combining ordinary daylight with direct sunlight.
Self Portrait in a Straw Hat
Oil on canvas
H 97.8 x W 70.5 cm