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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Marie Antoinette Eats Cake, parts 709 - 712

709. The court artists could have substituted a generic pretty face for Marie's ordinary face but this was very 'verboten' (verboten is a German word, and everyone knows what it means.) When a family has half a dozen princesses to palm off on to foreign courts one did not want to get a reputation for pictorial fraud. The portrait had to be idealized, but at the same time had to possess those oddities that make a painting both charming and yet idiosyncratic. 

710. It just so happened at the time when Marie was a child, the court did not have an artist up to the task of painting a portrait that idealized Marie, and yet was also true to life. This would not have mattered so much except that the repeated attempts to both improve her appearance, and paint her picture were making her life a series of painful humiliating experiences.

711. All day long her life was a series of meetings with professionals who's job it was to perfect her intellect and improve her appearance. As it was she had to start her day at half past five in the morning because it took two and a half hours just to get her dressed and do her hair, fourteen court ladies had this task as their permanent occupation.

712. Once she was dressed and her hair and make-up finished she attended her classes of Latin and Greek with professor Gotischalk, who so far had only taught her a few Latin words such as Rex for king, and vox for voice. As for Greek, that had to be put off indefinitely.

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