Marie Elisabeth Desiree de Chantemerle, Comtesse de Hergh, 1715
Oil on canvas
Frame: 39 3/4 in x 33 1/2 in x 3 1/4 in; 101 cm x 85.1 cm x 8.3 cm; Stretcher: 31 3/8 in x 24 3/4 in; 79.7 cm x 62.9 cm
Bequest of Elisabeth Skinner
French painter Nicolas de Largillière combined naturalism with artifice to create portraits with a unity of color and harmony of composition. Casting aside the formality of the age of Louis XIV, his elegant and engaging sitter wears the fashions of the new monarchy that began the year of its execution, in 1715. The Comtesse de Hergh’s ochre robe volante is loosely gathered, revealing a lavishly-embellished chemise. Her blue velvet mantle undulates over her shoulders in a casually sensual way. The colors and textures of her clothing are echoed in the soft tones and loose brushwork of the landscape in the background. Associated with the aesthetic ideals of the new king, Louis XV, Largillière's portrait reflects the informality, spontaneity, and natural grace of the Rococo style.