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“The Grafin von Schonfeld with her Daughter” by Elizabeth Louise Vigee-LeBrun

In the University Of Arizona Museum Of Art, the Pfeiffer Gallery is displaying many art pieces of oil on canvas paintings. These paintings are mostly portraits of people, both famous and not. They are painted by a variety of artists of European decent and American decent between the mid 1700’s and the early 1900’s. The painting by Elizabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun caught my eye and drew me in to look closely at its composition.

“The Grafin von Scholfeld with her Daughter” is oil on canvas art piece painted in 1793. It is a painting of a woman holding her daughter on her lap, the woman being “The Grafin von Schonfeld.” The woman is dressed in clothing that is from the upper class or a royalty stature in the late 1700’s. The clothing looks rich in material and sleek like silk in the colors of wine and a rich green. She has a covering on her head that looks like an extravagant scarf that drapes over her shoulder on one side, also made of the same silky material used for her dress. The woman has pale skin, reddish brown hair, bluish eyes, and rosy cheeks. Her eyes look very real and penetrating when you examine the painting. The daughter is about the age of 5 or 6 years old. Her arms are around her mother’s neck and legs draped across her mother’s lap. The daughter is wearing a white fluid dress that looks thin in material with a red sash around her midsection. The daughter has the same reddish brown hair and rosy cheeks. The mothers and daughters eyes are equally as big in size, while the child’s eyes seem also very real and youthful.

The mother and daughter are sitting on a bench of some sort on a ledge of a window with a portion of the window open. Outside the window there is landscape of mountains, trees, and a stormy sky. The sky is rich with a high value of grays including the whites of the clouds. The technique for creating the landscape out the window, the painter used an atmospheric perspective. The outside is slightly less focused and very fluid compared to the detail used for the mother and daughter.

The colors used in the painting are very vivid yet rich in depth. A combination of high chroma and low chroma gives the picture its dep...

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...oul. Maybe Vigee-LeBrun had this idea when painting and wanted the eyes of the people she painted to show the souls and the life of the people instead focusing on features that were less valuable.
“The Grafin von Schonfeld with her Daughter” is very interesting to look at. It shows history and context of the lives of the 1700’s. The textures of the dresses are beautiful and very alluring to the eye. The porcelain skin of the mother and daughter give the painting innocence and purity, along with the loving nature between the mother and the daughter. This is a very good piece of artwork because it draws you to it with you knowing why. Once looking at the painting you find yourself looking into the eyes of the subject being painted and seeing another life with in the portrait. The eyes can almost be eerie as well as breathtaking at the same time. The painting produces richness and a feeling of royalty that people in the 21st century do not understand but yearn just the same. I was very impressed of the classic style of the painting and my own yearning to have the same richness and “classiness” as the lives that were portrayed in Vigee-LeBrun’s painting.
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