Marie Antoinette was one of the most famous French women of all times,
perhaps even more famous than the King himself. A woman of authority by
her amorous association with the King, her portrait demonstrates her
importance. The hair is in the style of the court of the time, both
large and accompanied by attachments. At a time when wigs were
prevalent for both men and women, many women maintained an edge by often
displaying their own hair. Where wigs could be styled and prepared in
advance by servants for the many functions demanded of a royal schedule,
an event such as a sitting for a portrait virtually demanded that the
hairstyle be both fabulous and real. The second portrait shows Madame
Charles-Pierre Pecoul, the aristocratic relative of the artist,
Jacques-Louis David. The upper classes emulated royalty mixing their
own hair with wigs for that image of grandness.
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