Charles-André van Loo: Portrait of Marie Leszczinska, Queen consort of France and Navarre (1748)

(Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France)

A magnificent portrait this time by the French artist Charles-André van Loo (aka Carle van Loo). The subject is Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja Leszczyńska. she was the daughter of Stanisław Leszczyński, king of Poland. She married on 5 September 1725, at the Château de Fontainebleau, with Louis XV, King of France. The couple got several children and was grandmother of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, and Charles X. although the marriage initially was a happy one, after the birth of Princess Louise in 1737, which nearly took her life, the marriage rapidly declined. In 1738 the Queen refused Louis entrance to her bedroom and the private relationship ended between them. In public they performed their roles together and Louis regularly payed her ceremonial visits. Louis XV took several mistresses after the private breakup, including the famous Madame de Pompadour. Marie Leszczinska never had any political influence in the French court and was famous for her charity towards the poor which made her very popular with the public. on 24 June 1768 she died at the age of 65, much mourned by the public. The painting shows her at the age of 45 and she is wearing an imposing 'grande Robe de Cour'. Under her dress she has a pannier or side hoops which extend the width of her dress while leaving the front and back relatively flat. The bust on the left is a portrait her husband. This painting is from 1748

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