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#12 Rene-Theodore Berthon – Portrait of Princess Pauline Borghese and the Baroness de Mathiesse



#12 René-Théodore Berthon (French, 1776 – 1859), Portrait of Princess Pauline Borghèse and the Baroness de Mathiesse, c. 1810, oil on canvas, 83 7/8 x 69 ½ in., Museum purchase with Council funds, AP.2002.2.1.

Princess Pauline Borghèse, youngest sister of Napoleon Bonaparte, and her lady companion are the subjects of this large double portrait exhibited in the Salon of 1812.  Berthon was one of the most talented and illustrious students of the Neo-classical artist Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) who introduced the young artist to Napoleon when he was First Consul.

Pauline is seen as an important tastemaker of the day attired in the trendiest fashion of the time, namely an Empire-style dress and shawl inspired by designs created in the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece and Rome.

“I am such a big fan of that style and period of art. The mood of the portrait is so gentle, soft, almost delicate. I feel like I want to sit down with these two ladies. The detail is so intricate, you could almost feel the lace on the dress.” – Robin Albaneze



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