Monday, November 5, 2012

The Dauphin

Marie Antoinette was the driving force behind the creation of Le Hameau, but Louis XVI was temperamentally disposed to the simple, rural life and didn't disapprove of her projects.  The first painting of the young Dauphin, Marie Antoinette's intended, that the French sent to her after the wedding deal was struck, was of Louis-Auguste at the plow.  It seems like an odd choice and the Austrians were somewhat underwhelmed, but it was representative. This is one of two different paintings that I've seen billed as that famous first portrait.  The other looks the same except more crowded.   Louis loved to work with his hands, to build, to make locks, and was often disheveled and rumpled.  Sort of like Pigpen in the Charlie Brown cartoons.  According to some guy, whose name will remain a mystery, (duc de Choiseul, I believe,)  it's too much trouble to search for where I read it,  he looked as if he had been brought up in the woods. Underneath it all, though, he was a gentleman... a gentle man.

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