There is a phenomenal exhibit about Marie-Antoinette at the Grand Palais in Paris. (Thanks for the links, Terry and Richard!) Author Catherine Delors writes of it as well.
As one article says:
Marie-Antoinette has long been the subject of speculation and derision by her contemporaries and historians alike.... To some degree, the Grand Palais' exhibition liberates the last queen of France from a history of ridicule. Marie-Antoinette allows the monarch to be seen as a sophisticated artistic patron during the years leading up to the French Revolution.Another article gives more details:
If Marie-Antoinette leaned toward a natural freshness and artistic modernity, it was surely a predictable reaction against a stultifying, over-ripe court rather than an urge to create a contemporary culture. The pieces seem more like a final fling of Rococo than the first stirrings of Neo-Classicism.
Carsen says that he wanted to emphasize the taste of Marie-Antoinette, rather than her style. A second rotunda shows a defiant queen using Vigée Lebrun to underscore her image. Beside the portraits is a copy of the infamous diamond necklace, falsely claimed as proof of the careless greed of the so-called "Madame Deficit." Yet the exhibition's most shocking moment comes in the stairwell below the drawings of towering hairdos. The ode to vanity ends with a smashed mirror and a spidery reflection of the broken glass.Share