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Félicie de Fauveau

(Livorno, 1801 – Florence, 1886)

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Félicie de Fauveau

La Duchesse de Berry

Marble, 60 x 30.5 cm

The history of art fully illustrates the situation encountered by female artists and despite the few figures who came to the fore at the end of the reign of Louis XVI. many others remained unknown because they were ignored by the institutions and confined to treating art as a genteel pastime.

It is in this environment that Félicie de Fauveau occupies a place of courage and radicalism that is totally original.  Fauveau, chose the most physical and therefore, a priori, the least feminine art according to traditional views of the genre: that of sculpture, rather than poetry or watercolours which were considered as more “proper” for women to engage in. The most important female bust sculpted by Félicie de Fauveau is that of the Duchesse de Berry, is a rare example of polychrome marble within the genre of French Romanticism, a technique of highlighting in colour inherited from the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This regal depiction was commissioned by the Duchess directly from the artist in 1840, and royalist symbolism prevails here over physical likeness in an iconographic scheme which embodies the defiant courage of the Duchess who dared to defy Charles X and then Louis Philippe in claiming the throne of France for her son, the last legitimate descendant of Louis XV of France in the male line.



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