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Claudia Gaggetta Dalaimo

Le portrait de Belle de Zuylen du Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève :
une œuvre emblématique de Maurice Quentin de La Tour

During his stay at Zuylen Castle in 1766, Maurice Quentin de La Tour drew a pastel portrait of Belle de Zuylen, which nowadays belongs to the collections of the Musée d’art et d’histoire in Geneva. Through Belle’s correspondence with the baron de Constant d’Hermenches, the article analyses the intimate friendship which gradually arose between the artist and his young model and highlights the tormented creative process of La Tour. Because of his perfectionism and obsession with depicting not only the features of his model but also his spirit, personality and mind, La Tour required Isabelle to endure long-lasting sittings. Thanks to his perseverance and perfect technique knowledge and skill, he finally realized a portrait that reveals the vitality, assurance and intelligence of a woman, whose qualities are also fully conveyed in her writings.

SvD, November 2011

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