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In the Gallery – Marie Victoire Lemoine: Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest



AP.1994.3.1- Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest, Marie Victoire Lemoine, 1785

By Angela Gonzalez,  Curatorial Intern

Lemoine was an artist at a time when women were limited in their subjects. Education for women artists was limited by their exclusion from studies of nude models. Lemoine was still successful with her production of detailed portraits, miniatures and genre subjects. She was born to a middle class family in Paris. She had three sisters, two of whom when on to be successful artists as well. Marie never married. She concentrated on her career and skills as an artist. She exhibited her work in Salon of the French Academy between 1796 and 1814.

The subject of this portrait has been identified as the notorious Louis Benoît Zamor, the protégé of Louis XV’s mistress, Madame Du Barry. Du Barry expelled Zamor from her home after he sympathized with the French Revolution. His testimony against Madame Du Barry was a contributing factor to her execution by guillotine in 1793. Although the sitters identity is difficult to prove due to accounts that describe him as Bengali or African descent and differ regarding his age. At any rate, Lemoine created a stunning likeness of this youth. His elegant silk attire and embroidered vest indicate his connection with a family of nobility.

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