Élis­a­beth Louise Vigée Le Brun's paints a royal flush


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Best known as the court pain­ter to Marie An­toinette, Élis­a­beth Louise Vigée Le Brun had a long, tur­bu­lent, and his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant ca­reer. Her work took her from Rev­o­lu­tion-era Paris, to the art acad­e­mies of Rome, to the palaces of Rus­sia. Among her vi­brant paint­ings, you’ll find not just the face of Marie An­toinette, but also Rus­sian princesses Alexan­dra and Elena Pavlovna — the grand­daugh­ters of Cather­ine the Great — and the last king of Poland, Stanis­law Au­gust Po­ni­a­towski. In an ex­hi­bi­tion of her work, the Na­tional Gallery of Canada high­lights her ex­tra­or­di­nary self-taught tal­ent and ap­plauds her suc­cess in a world dom­i­nated by men.

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