Marie Antoinette

Today we are mixing:

  • The Painting: “Marie Antoinette and Her Children” (1787) by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun
  • The Soundtrack: “Circus Fantasy” by James Newton Howard (“Water for Elephants” Soundtrack)

About the Painting

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun. Oil on canvas. 1787.

In September 1785, when Marie Antoinette’s popularity with the French people was on a dangerous downward slide, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun was summoned to Versailles. The brilliant young painter had already been commissioned to paint several portraits of the queen, posing her alone in various elegant gowns. Now, however, she was asked to create something different: something that would restore Marie Antoinette’s image as a loving mother and guarantor of dynastic continuity.

The result, Vigée Le Brun’s Marie Antoinette and her Children (1787), is a masterpiece of portraiture, and is today considered one of France’s most important national treasures. “This is an iconic painting,” said curator Gwenola Firmin of the Musée national des châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon, which lent the work to the exhibition. “It’s one of Versailles’ best known and most emblematic works.” Anne Eschapasse, the National Gallery of Canada’s Director of Exhibitions and Outreach, who grew up in France, adds, “It’s familiar to every French child, because it’s reproduced in all the history textbooks to illustrate the late 18th-century period in France.”

About the Soundtrack

We used “Circus Fantasy” theme from “Water for Elephants” soundtrack by James Newton Howard.

Water for Elephants is a 2011 American romantic drama film directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Richard LaGravenese, based on Sara Gruen‘s 2006 novel of the same name. It stars Reese WitherspoonRobert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz.

James Newton Howard (born June 9, 1951) is an American composer, conductor, and music producer. He has scored over 100 films and is the recipient of a Grammy AwardEmmy Award, and eight Academy Award nominations. His film scores include Pretty Woman (1990), Grand Canyon (1991), The Fugitive (1993), The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Dinosaur (2000), Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001), Treasure Planet (2002), King Kong (2005), Batman Begins (2005), Blood Diamond (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), The Bourne Legacy (2012), The Hunger Games series (2012–2015) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). He has collaborated with directors M. Night Shyamalan, having scored nine of his films since The Sixth SenseChristopher Nolan, having collaborated with Hans Zimmer on The Dark Knight Trilogy excluding The Dark Knight RisesPeter Jackson, composing the score for his 2005 remake of King Kong, and Francis Lawrence, having scored all of his films since I Am Legend.

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