This stunning painting was produced by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard just two years after she was admitted to the prestigious ranks of French Academicians. At that point, only four women at a time were eligible for membership in the French Academy, and this painting is thought to be a subtle propaganda piece for the rights of women. Madame Labille-Guiard portrays herself resplendent in full feminine regalia yet at the same time with great dignity and strength of character. She is at work on a large canvas watched by two admiring students, Marie Gabrielle Capet (1761–1818) and Marie-Margeurite Carreaux de Rosemond (died 1788.) Known as a witty conversationalist and intellectual, Madame Labille-Guiard (1749-1803) never ceased to quietly yet firmly champion the rights of women. Some might say that her most persuasive argument must certainly be her own ouevre of superbly executed masterworks.
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