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Portraits of Marie Antoinette

2 x 52 & 1 x 90 (English and French) 1 x 52 (French, English on Request) HD
Broadcaster:  ARTE

Discover the extraordinary story of the life and art of Elizabeth Vigée Lebrun, official portraitist of Queen Marie Antoinette.


Born into a family of painters in Paris in 1755, the same year as Marie Antoinette, Elizabeth was a child prodigy who began her career as a portraitst aged 14, and soon became one of the best paid painters in France. Summonned to Versailles to paint Marie Antoinette, she would go on to paint more than 40 portraits of the sovereign. However, with revolution in the air, her dangerous friendship with the Queen ultimately forced her to flee France. While professional roles for women were limited, particularly in revolutionary France, her exile would shape her into one of the most well-travelled, financially independent, and strikingly contemporary female artists of the 18th century.


Featuring interviews with world-leading Lebrun scholars and experts from the Louvre and the Château de Versailles this definitive documentary drama recreates the sumptuous interiors of 18th century France, the grandeur of royal costumes while also offering an intimate portrayal of a friendship that defined both great women: the artist, and the Queen. Elizabeth Vigée Lebrun's striking neoclassical portraits defined a genre and would go on to shape European fashion for generations to come.

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