Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux (French, 1761–1802)
Oil on canvas
76 x 50 3/4 in. (193 x 128.9 cm)
Bequest of Susan Dwight Bliss, 1966 (67.55.1)
Ducreux exhibited this self-portrait at the 1791 Salon. She depicts herself testing the tuning of a contemporary single-action harp. A book of sheet music, pictured on the table at left, is open to a song honoring "tender love." By portraying her musical talents along with her considerable painting skills, Ducreux presents herself as an exemplar of feminine refinement, able to shift gracefully between art and music. This painting, previously attributed to Antoine Vestier (17401824) and to Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (17551842), is the finest known example of her work.