Julie Le Brun (1780–1819) Looking in a Mirror

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 632

During her lifetime, Vigée Le Brun was France’s most famous woman artist, and she was highly aware of how important her self-presentation was to the Parisian art world. In 1787 she submitted to the French Royal Academy’s Salon three portraits of her daughter, Julie, including this one—a tacit nod to the fact that her ability to create encompassed but was not limited to motherhood. Julie is shown both in profile and straight on through the inclusion of a mirror. The deliberately impossible perspective results in a double image that draws on earlier artists’ allegorical figures of Sight and debates about reality versus illusion in painting.

Julie Le Brun (1780–1819) Looking in a Mirror, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, Paris 1755–1842 Paris), Oil on canvas

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