Portrait Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, Attributed to Louis de Silvestre

Portrait Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, Attributed to Louis de Silvestre


Very fine portrait, presumed of Marie-Josèphe de Saxe, Dauphine of France around 1747, attributed to Louis de Silvestre

Marie Josèphe Caroline Éléonore Françoise Xavière de Saxe, was born on November 4th 1731 in Dresden and died on March 13th 1767 in Versailles, was Dauphine of France by her marriage to the Dauphin Louis, son of Louis XV. The eight of the fourteen children of Augustus III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and Archduchess Marie-Josephe of Austria, the Princess received the same first name as her mother, daughter of the late Emperor Joseph I of the Holy Empire. She married in 1747, barely 15 years old, Louis de France, Dauphin of Vienne, eldest son of Louis XV, King of France and Navarre, and Marie Leszczyńska. She became the mother of eight children, the three eldest of whom died young, the last three kings of France from the House of Bourbon Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X and two daughters, Clotilde, declared venerable by the Catholic Church, and Elizabeth, who also died in the odor of holiness. Renowned for her intelligence, her gentleness and her uprightness, she formed with her husband, a young and inconsolable widower of the Infanta of Spain Marie-Thérèse de Bourbon, a couple whose beginnings were difficult but who grew together and their union became a very harmonious one, blessed with many children.

Louis de Silvestre (June 23, 1675 – April 11, 1760) was a French painter, court painter to King Augustus II of Poland and director of the Royal Academy of Arts in Dresden. Frederick Augustus II, prince-elector of Saxony, meets Silvestre while he is in France and offers him to work at the court of his father Augustus II, king of Poland. The artist accepted the offer, obtained authorization from Louis XV and left on April 23, 1716; in 1718 he was living in Dresden. Augustus II and his son were both great admirers of Silvestre's work and, in the space of thirty years, awarded him every honor imaginable: he was appointed first court painter, then, in 1727, director of the 'Royal Academy of Arts; he was knighted in 1741, like his brother Charles-François. During this period, Silvestre produced, with the help of his wife, Marie-Catherine Hérault, numerous oil paintings and frescoes, either in Dresden or in Warsaw. He painted many portraits of the king and queen, as well as those of other great aristocrats. He is responsible for the most important works in the Dresden Palace, including subjects taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses for several state rooms and several ceilings. On the death of Heinrich Christian Fehling [de] (1654-1725), Silvestre was appointed director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. During his time at the court in Dresden, Silvestre was known as much for his personality and his distinguished friends as for his talents as an artist. The large number of works that came out of his brush and the generosity of his patrons allowed him to amass a considerable fortune and, having acquired financial security, he retired and returned to France. Louis XV granted him a pension of 1000 écus and apartments in the Palais du Louvre itself. In 1752, he was appointed director of the Academy of Paris.

Oil on canvas ca. 73*59cms with the old frame ca. 86*71cms

Provenance: United States Private Collection

For comparison, we have added a collage of this portrait with another portrait from our gallery which is also attributed to Louis de Silvestre. You can find this portrait in our other listings.