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.


3 thoughts on “OPTICC 4: Princesse de Broglie

  1. This is an important choice of art because it is very reflective of French society, specifically the incredible wealth experienced by the bourgeoisie. It is not a very unique piece of art, being that the most popular art of this time and region was aristocrats dressed to the nines, so it does not have a unique message or an antithesis to Western European class disparity that would add to our peers knowledge of the region and time.


  2. I really love the painting you chose. While it may seem like just a portrait, it is very detailed and tells a lot about the subject, time period, and lifestyle of the subject. Your analysis is very well thought out as you noticed many details about the painting that give way to many answers about the lifestyle of the subject. A detail that could have been discussed a little more would be the shield painted on the back wall, that usually represents a the ruling family at the time. I also think more could have been said about what was going on in the period this painting was made, since there was so much changing in France at the time, especially for the wealthy royalty.
    Your OPTICC makes a very clear point and analyzes it really well. It definitely added to my understanding of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This criticism is accurate because as you said, there was a lot going on in France during this time to take note of, so I should have elaborated more on the political changes and the relevance of the shield on the wall behind the princess. This is also accurate because this painting is an accurate representation of the bourgeois class and the social structures in France during the nineteenth century. Your critique was sparked by your curiosity about the shield on the wall behind the princess and your desire for knowledge about the context of the shield, which I should have provided. I also should have spent more time on the selection of this piece because this was a very typical painting in France during this time, so I could have selected a more unique piece.


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