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Topics: Portrait painting, Painting, Social class Pages: 3 (845 words) Published: October 28, 2013
Helene Lambert de Thorigny is an oil-on-canvas portrait from sometime between 1696-1700 and is 63x45 inches. It is currently on display in the Honolulu Museum of Art. Nicolas de Largillière did the portrait while Jean Baptiste Belin de Fontenay did the flowers. Helene Lambert de Thorigny was the wife of a wealthy Normandy financier. The portrait depicts the spirit of the Rococo, also known as late baroque, with the creamy pastels, curvatures, and a playful nature.

Nicolas de Largillière was a French painter who excelled in creating formal portraits of the wealthy social classes. In this portrait, Nicolas rendered Helene Lambert de Thorigny magnificently dressed and framed by a garland painted by Belin. He illustrates Madame de Thorigny in a luxurious setting, thereby letting the viewer know of her status and social standing. To emphasize this, he paints the background with ornate, classical columns, high ceilings, and an impressive interior design.

Jean Baptiste Belin de Fontenay was a French painter who specialized in painting flowers. In this portrait, he painted the floral garland featured around Madame de Thorigny as well as the flowers in her hair. In the spirit of the Rococo, he paints the flowers using creamy, pastel colors. He also paints them with an ornate style, making them look realistic and textured. I believe the intention of the flower garland was to not only add beauty, but to also frame Madame de Thorigny, making her the main focus.

What struck me when I first saw this painting, other than the pretty flower garland, is how brightly illuminated she was. Her porcelain skin is highlighted as if the sun or some form of light shines down on her. This is in contrast to everything else being much darker. The contrast between her bright aura and the dark surroundings could the author’s way of symbolizing Madame de Thorigny’s status and wealth. It could also be a way of emphasizing her being the focal point of the painting. I noticed her gaze...
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