Roslin was an 18th-century Swedish portrait painter whose career in Stockholm and the cultural metropolises of Paris, St. Petersburg and Bayreuth was nothing short of brilliant. So much so that during the second half of the 18th century, having one’s portrait painted by Roslin became the height of social prestige.
This fashionable portrait of the 1760s probably depicts a French aristocrat. Its style and manner echo Roslin’s portraiture which highlighted the very essence of a doomed pre-revolutionary society with an obvious predilection for extravagance and luxury. The aristocratic élite, fairly obsessed with ideals of beauty, with role play and a life of consumptive luxury, became a clear source of work for talented portraitists of the period.
A distinctive feature of this work is the ability of the artist to reproduce with exacting detail the clothes, accessories and powdered features of his subject thereby instantly proclaiming her wealth and status. But as with Roslin’s work, harnessed with this luxury is a strong sense of character and presence which emanates from the sitter’s face.