Madame Marsollier and Her Daughter

Jean Marc Nattier French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 630

The public performance of applying makeup and finishing dressing before friends and associates was a common feature of elite sociability in eighteenth-century Europe. In this portrait, exhibited at the Salon of 1750, Madame Marsollier initiates her daughter into the ritual through which beauty, etiquette, and consumer power (note the luxurious fabrics and gilded toilette set) were put on display. Madame Marsollier had married a wealthy textile merchant whom she considered beneath her station. By employing the French royal family’s favorite portraitist, the Marsolliers aspired to aristocracy and, indeed, their daughter became the marquise de Chamilly.

Madame Marsollier and Her Daughter, Jean Marc Nattier (French, Paris 1685–1766 Paris), Oil on canvas

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