Self-portrait in a straw hat
after 1782, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun
I took part in the National Gallery’s Talk and draw session this Friday the 22nd July and we studied and sketched this very fine self-portrait by Vigee Le Brun. The inspiration for the composition came from Ruben’s Chapeau de Paille which Vigee Le Brun had seen in Antwerp. This painting has been criticised by feminist writers in the way it has been ‘beautified.’ I would say what should be acknowledged is that she succeeded as an artist in a very much male dominated profession. For the record when asked Reynolds thought her the finest artist alive or dead.