Being autonomous rulers, monarchs have a particular interest in their profound image. Therefore, art is essential in glorifying and presenting this identity to the masses.
Artists create Royal portraits that embody the influential role of Monarchs. These idealized royal portraits serve the purpose of propaganda and a medium of expression. It represents how monarchs prefer to see themselves. Men and women have also been at the center of Royal portraits.
Looking at how royal portraits are created irrespective of gender, let's look at the most famous paintings of women of royalty.
The Family Portrait of Marie Antoinette by Le Braun
Marie Antoinette enjoys a conflicting image in front of people. Her marriage was a means to establish peace between the French and other societies. However, her affluent lifestyle was looked down upon by many. That's not all; she was accused of stealing a diamond necklace. Though she was not at fault, her reputation suffered.
To re-built her image, there were a series of efforts. First, her loving qualities of motherhood were emphasized so that previous claims would diminish. And this is one of the reasons that the family portrait of Marie Antoinette was commissioned.
The famous painting Marie Antoinette and Her Children has a deeper meaning than many other artworks on women. If you observe, you will see that the triangular layout of the painting reflects the version of 'Holy Family,' a very prominent feature of the Renaissance period.
Moreover, the portrait of Marie Antoinette reflects the queen's purity and disregards the earlier claims of fraudulence. The portrait shows no jewelry adorned by the queen, representing how all the queen's attention was directed toward her kids. Not to forget, the painting is similar to one of the famous paintings of women Madonna of the Meadow by Raphael, which illustrated the Virgin Mary and two infants.
Queen Victoria By Thomas Sully
Thomas Sully was commissioned to produce a portrait of Queen Victoria- near the time of her coronation. It is one of the old paintings of women that shows the sheer beauty of a queen. Head tilted over her shoulder, the painting looks as if the Queen is gazing at a viewer.
Her eyes have that special spark that shows deep interest in the subject in front. With a beautiful crown and diamond jewelry, the portrait is an example of an oil painting on a canvas. Sully's work became one of the best portraits of Queen Victoria.
Catherine II The Great by Fyodor Rokotov
Catherine took care of the throne when her husband Peter III was dethroned. Under Catherine's rule, the Russian empire flourished. Talking about the famous portraits of women, Rokotav got an opportunity to paint the coronation portrait of the Empress and honor the regality.
The artist paints Catherine sitting on a throne in a light-toned, silver attire while holding a scepter in her hand. This reflects the idea that it was under Catherine's scepter that the Russian Empire would prosper.
The painting also reflects discipline and detachment that is specific to the event. In fact, ivory and lilac color palettes are perfect for expressing the concept through art.
Empress Elisabeth by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
The German artist, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, created the portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Winterhalter was known for his art depicting Royalty. While the artist painted the Empress four times, his latest piece gained the most popularity, making it one of the most famous portraits of women. His portraits show his free style of brushwork, which is specific to the Romantic style.
The portrait shows the Empress flaunting a white satin dress made by one of the best dressmakers of that era. There are many silver stars over the dress that shine through the tulle. The dress also has precious pearls and stones. The hair is set via several carefully made braids, all in position through diamond pins.
It was during the 1800s that women depicted their husband's social status via their dress. That is why a sense of style was also significant for that age, apart from placing a specific emphasis on the importance of motherhood. The artist does a remarkable job of bringing out the Empress's fashion sense in its proper form.
Madame De Pompadour by François Boucher
Madame De Pompadour was the mistress of King Louis XV of France. She was famous for her intelligence and enjoyed a special place in the court. Boucher painted several portraits of Madame De Pompadour. One of the most famous depicted Madame De Pompadour in extravagant green silk attire. The dress had pink ribbons. The portrait shows a bracelet around her wrist with a picture of King Louis XV.
The portrait reflects how Madame De Pompadour is surrounded by several things in line with her interests. There is a book in her hands that shows her love for reading. In real she had hundreds of books in her library. There is a feather quill that conveys the message of the Age of Enlightenment. The lady loved to design and build projects. Other symbols in the portrait represent her loyalty and exclusively to the King.
History has seen powerful monarchs who have been the sole authorities of states. The image of power has always been at the core of monarchs who managed their sense of image through art. Royal portraiture, therefore, represents monarchs in the way they want to see themselves. There is, however, a massive collection of portraits that depict the Royalties in a manner unknown to the sitter.
However, the Royals enjoyed a special place in the art that became a means to showcase their powerful image as rulers. Interestingly, men and women are also seen to enjoy a significant place in royal portraiture. Therefore, artists deserve applause when they skillfully portray a picture of the royals educating and informing the masses.