OPTICC 4: Princesse de Broglie

In this painting Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn is posing in a large and elaborate blue and lace gown. This wealthy woman is leaning against a gold satin chair which has a gold embroidered white shawl draped over it. She has her hair up, with expensive white and gold jewelry on, and a small smile on her face.

Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn was a princess, and her large amount of wealth is made apparent by the artist highlighting her clearly expensive gold, enamel and pearl jewelry. In addition, her importance is emphasized by the fact that she is wearing a very expensive ball gown and is leaning on a chair with a shawl which both have excessive detail and lots of gold. Her only visible hand wears what seems to be a colorful wedding ring.

The title of this painting, Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie (1825–1860), is not artistic in any way. However, the title gives a lot of information about the subject of the painting. The artist, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres (French, Montauban 1780–1867 Paris), was a significantly famous artist in France during the 1800’s. The title shows that the subject of this painting was a very well connected and significant figure, and that she was a princess of France, so it is inevitable that a famous artist such as Jean Auguste paint her portrait.

Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie (1825–1860) is a painting meant to display the wealth and glory of this very powerful woman. She is surrounded and clothed in her most expensive belongs with a lazy and content smile that almost looks condescending. During this time many wealthy people had portraits of themselves painted so that they could be remembered as successful and handsome. Although Jean Auguste was a renowned artist during the nineteenth century, this particular painting has no artistic or deeper meaning other than the clear shyness and power of the Princess.

Pauline de Broglie was the wife of Albert de Broglie, who served multiple terms as the Prime Minister of France, when Prime Ministers in France has just become the powerful government figures. Also, this was soon after the French Revolution where the French tried and failed to implement other types of government. This explains the massive amounts of wealth displayed in the painting, and the overall importance of this piece of art in the 1800’s. During this time, there was also an Impressionist movement in art (depicting the impression of the scene on the artist), followed by a Post- Impressionist movement.

In conclusion, this is a style of painting that was used to paint portraits of many wealthy and important figures, usually government officials, surrounded by and wearing their finest possessions. This is the case in Joséphine-Éléonore-Marie-Pauline de Galard de Brassac de Béarn, Princesse de Broglie (1825–1860), displayed in her glory and beauty by the famous Jean Auguste during a time of great artistic and political development in France.

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The Tongue Survives

The story of “La Malinche” tells the legend of Malinalli, The Tongue (translator) for the Spaniards as Cortes colonized the Aztecs. Malinalli was a survivor from birth to death, through all of her experiences as a slave, treks through Mexico with Cortes, and battles between her people and her allies. I will never experience the amount of pain and victory that Malinalli went through, but everyone who lives endures pain and victory in different ways. The story of La Malinche can guides us to make a great story of our sorrow.

In the beginning when Malinalli is being birthed, the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck like a serpent, which also happened to me. My mother was told not to push because it would choke me, but animal instinct told her drive me out. Malinalli’s grandmother was ready to cut her out, which would have killed her, but Malinalli pushed through and came out alive, as did I. “Grandmother shouted like a warrior to let everyone know that her daughter- in- law, a great fighter, had come out victorious in the battle between life and death.” (pg. 5) I felt a connection to this quote, because I can imagine the victorious spirit in my loved ones after my successful birth. This is clearly included in the book as a foreshadowing to her victorious triumph over death during fatal battles and adventures. If this was the true story of Malinalliś birth, then it was either a spectacular coincidence or a great anticipation to her future. Perhaps Malinalli was so inspired to survive later in life because she remembered the story of her birth and felt the need to continue the legacy. Nonetheless, this was a great passage to intrigue the reader about the survivor in Malinalli, which was continued later in the story.

I was continuously amazed at the courage and strength exhibited by Malinalli in every moment of her life. Repeatedly sold as a slave, faced with life changing and world altering decisions far too early in life, forced to face the consequences of her trust, struggling to find a place where her heart feels safe. Although my situation is no comparison to hers, any teenager can relate to the feeling of being lost in a world where the decisions we face feel far beyond our control. ¨Migration is an act of survival. Malinalli wished she could have relied on the lightness of butterflies and migrated on time, flown through the high skies, far above the clouds, where she would not have to hear the weeping and lamenting, where you could not distinguish the mutilated corpses, the rivers of blood, the smell of death.” (pg. 92) Malinalli imagines this because she constantly has to survive all of those sorrowful situations, and she wants a way out. I relate to her state of anxiety, and I often find my escape in literature and music, imagining a world free of disaster and misery where I can be free.

At Malinalli’s death, she was also reborn. She became one with all of eternity, all of the universe, everything living and everything dead. This was a symbol of survival, because it showed us that even through death she survived in spirit. Malinalli dies on her own terms, and is immediately merged with the universe by being struck by lightning. “At that moment, a bolt of lightning, a silver tongue, lit the sky, heralding a storm and filling with light the still body of Malinalli, who had died instantaneously some moments before. Her eyes were absorbed by the stars, which immediately knew everything that she had seen on earth.” (pg. 185) Even though many of us believe in an afterlife, or in the simple decomposition of our body with no existence after death, we all wish to be remembered somehow by the world we experience every day. Malinalli had a story that we will never forget, a story that will influence the world for centuries after her death. The absorption of her eyes into the stars is a symbol of her legend on the earth and the way she will always “look over” us and influence the human race.

La Malinche was a magnificent story to warn us against ourselves. Malinalli learned through all of her adventures and moments facing death that she is a survivor. I learned through Malinalli what is truly means to survive and to thrive, and I will carry on this story by conquering my own plights.