Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shades of Mourning


Catherine Delors offers this lovely portrait of the young Marie-Antoinette in "light mourning." As Queen, she would also wear the deuil blanc, or "white mourning," as was customary for queens of France, when remembering the deceased. Share

7 comments:

Olga said...

do you happen to know who they would have been in mourning for in 1773 ?

elena maria vidal said...

I haven't been able to figure out who died that year. No one in the immediate family that I can tell. Sometimes mourning was worn for cousins and distant relatives and Marie-Antoinette had plenty of those. Or it could be that the date of the painting is wrong and she is in mourning for Louis XV. I'll keep researching it as time permits. If anyone has any ideas, please let us know.

Terry Nelson said...

She was beautiful. Serious question: Is her hair a wig, and is it powdered - she always appears grey haired? I always thought she was blonde? Oh, and why were wigs powdered? Did it have to do with hygiene? Thanks.

elena maria vidal said...

Marie-Antoinette was not one for wearing wigs, although she used powder and hair extensions. In this picture, her hair is powdered. People did not wash their hair as often as we do now and so the scented powder and wigs covered a multitude of ills. In Marie-Antoinette's case, since she bathed almost daily, hair powder is worn for the sake of custom and etiquette, not because of any hygiene challenges.

Terry Nelson said...

Thanks Elena.

elena maria vidal said...

I am perusing the letters between Marie-Antoinette and her mother, the Empress. In May 1773 the King of Sardinia (father of the Comtesses de Provence and d'Artois) died. There was a requiem Mass for him in Paris; Marie-Antoinette probably wore light mourning as a courtesy.

Olga said...

ah ok. thank you !