Sunday 6 November 2011

Not Marie-Antoinette?

Over on Tea at Trianon's new forum, created by Elena Maria Vidal, there has been an ongoing discussion about Marie-Antoinette in art. Although re-labelling and mis-labelling of portraits is a common enough occurrence in sixteenth century history, it's much rarer in the better documented 1700s. However, according to several researchers, one of the most famous portraits of Marie-Antoinette may actually be of someone else.

The portrait (above) hangs in the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Marie-Antoinette's main childhood home. Traditionally held to be a portrait of Marie-Antoinette painted around the time of her marriage negotiations, the lovely portrait was so famous that it even graced the UK cover of Antonia Fraser's award-winning 2001 biography of her, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. However, since 2008 the Schönbrunn has re-labelled the portrait and claims that is in fact a painting of Marie-Antoinette's elder sister, the Archduchess Maria-Josefa, who died tragically during a smallpox epidemic in 1767 at the age of sixteen.

An article about which Hapsburg sister the portrait represents can be found here.

And the forum's discussion begins here.


  1. Not at all! The forum is fantastic and I loved the discussion, especially reading that Marie-Antoinette had a book about Mary, Queen of Scots in her hands in the Temple portrait!

  2. Hello Garteh,

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