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Angelica Kauffmann: music or painting?

Born in 1741 in Chur, Switzerland, trained by her father who never ceased to encourage the expression of her talent, Angelica Kauffmann remains unknown to the general public despite being one of the most renowned artists of the 18th century in all of Europe.

Angelica Kauffmann. Autoportrait . 1784.  Neue Pinakothek. München
Angelica Kauffmann. Autoportrait . 1784. Neue Pinakothek. München

Very cultured, she was fluent in French, German, English and Italian. The European aristocracy appreciated her so much that they commissioned many portraits from her. Settled in London in 1766, at the age of 25, she was very quickly compared to Anthony Van Dyck. Abandoning still lifes and landscapes, Angelica Kauffmann undertook to paint historical and mythological paintings which had enormous success.

Angelica Kauffmann. Autoportrait hésitant entre la musique et la peinture. 1794. Nostell Priory. West Yorkshire.
Angelica Kauffmann. Autoportrait hésitant entre la musique et la peinture. 1794. Nostell Priory. West Yorkshire.

She settled in Rome in 1782, and her workshop very quickly became an essential stop on the famous "Grand Tour". A talented musician as much as a painter, Angelica Kauffmann will wink at this duality in a painting that she will paint at the age of 53, on an order from Princess Holstein Beck. In a white dress, in the center of a triangle formed by the inclination of music and painting, she hesitates, not knowing which form of art to privilege. At the top right of the painting, the presence of a Greco-Roman temple evokes this neo-classical style which will be the major expression of his style.


In his art history lectures, Fabrice Roy combines the past with the present, in a poetic and playful evocation of the French 19th century...




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