The Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli in Spanish Costume
The Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli in Spanish Costume c1763 by Swedish Painter Alexander Roslin (1718 – 1793); portrait painter of the aristocratic families of Europe.
This is a beautiful and elegant lavish portrait of Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli (1740 – 1773); the daughter of the Duc de Richelieu (1696 – 1788), who was a trusted advisor to King Louis XV; that at the age of fifteen married Casimir Pignatelli, Comte d’Egmont (1727 – 1801); a scion of the Egmonts of the Netherlands and the Pignatellis of Naples and Aragon; two ancient houses of European nobility.
She was a highly intelligent and one of the most glamorous women of Parisian Society in the 1760s, and was a sponsor of many of the leading artist of the Enlightenment including the likes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
She is depicted in a fashionable white silk Spanish gown (which references her husband’s ancestry), sitting in a large golden chair with her left arm resting on a large golden pillow with silver embroidery, while holding an open book with right hand.
She as string pearls throughout her hair, a three layer pearl choker and a matching three layer necklace; with matching teardrop and orb earrings.
Over her dress and attached to the front of the dress are more body length string pearls as well as pearls tied off at the upper arms, forearms and pearl bracelets.
Beside her is a Spanish guitar with sheet music, that is she was quite accomplished at playing, with a silk blue and white ribbon tied to the top of the guitar and hanging over the neck of the instrument.
To her right on the wall painted into the ceiling are two classical figures in a forest; below that is a painting hanging on the wall of a maritime scene and below that a relief in the walls lower section.
Beside this wall is a balcony that looks out over a large garden with trees; and behind the arm chair she is seated in is a large decorative marble column on her right and a stone column that makes up part of a green marble wall with a circular ring and disc on it.
By her left arm is a beautifully ornate gold inlaid wooden table that has another string of pearls resting a white cloth with a blue strip by a white and red carnation; near a blue vase with a brass base and rim that contains a bouquet of flowers that includes a variety of roses and other plants.
At her feet near the table is a small black and white dog with its lifted left paw, looking up at her trying to get her attention.
The Comtesse d’Egmont Pignatelli in Spanish Costume is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.
Alexander was born to the naval physician Hans Roslin and his wife Catherine Wertmüller on July 15, 1718; and showing an early talent for drawing and painting he was sent to Karlskrona, Sweden to be trained in drawing under the Admiralty Captain Lars Ehrenbill (1697–1747), so that he could become a naval draughtsman.
It was during this time that he also began painting miniatures and would later move to Stockholm, Sweden; which at the time had become an intellectual and artistic center [due to the efforts of Queen Christina (1626 – 1689 ruled from 1644 – 1654), who had established ties with Paris, France], and at the age of sixteen became apprenticed to the Swedish court painter Georg Engelhard Schröder (1684 – 1750); remaining there studying painting until 1941, moving to Gothenburg, and then Scania the following year, where he stayed for the next four years.
Thin in 1745 Alexander left Sweden for Bayreuth, Germany upon receiving an invitation to work for Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1711 – 1763) of the House of Hohenzollern and eldest son of Georg Frederick Karl (1688 – 1735).
Two years later he moved to Italy to study the works of the great masters; then later that year moved to Paris, France where is he would settle and remain for the rest of his life.
In 1759 at the age of 41 he married the pastel painter Marie-Suzanne Giroust (1734 – 1772) with whom had six children (three sons and three daughters); and would paint a portrait of his wife in 1768 with her dressed in Bolognese fashion in a piece called Lady with Veil; he also painted a double portrait of him and his wife, she is depicted working in pastels on a portrait of Henrik Wilhelm Peill (1730 – 1797), while he points to a gold box he received from Peill as a present.
While living in Paris, Alexander became a protégé of French Painter François Boucher (1703 – 1770), which quickly made his artwork fashionable in France, and help lead to him being selected as a member of the French Art Academy, to which his wife also belonged; soon becoming one of the foremost portraitists of his time, valued mostly for practiced rendering of luxurious fabrics and gentle complexions.
Though Alexander was a foreigner he was award in 1765, a state pension and a free apartment in the Louuvre; and in the following year was awarded the Royal Order of Vasa by Sweden, after which he was called Roslin le Chevalier or Roslin the knight.