French Royalty: Louis Joseph's Hair (1781-89)

Figure 1.--This painting shows Louis Joseph as an older boy of about 7-8 years of age. By this time he was very sick, so almost ceratinly this is an idealized image. We do not know if he actually had long hair. The artist was Madame Elizabeth Vigee le Brun.

Most images, however, show Louis-Charles with long hair. Note that a very young Louis-Joseph here has short hair (figure 1). We can not at this time explain this descrepany. Most available images of Louis-Joseph, however, as a younger boy show short hair. These were portraits for which the young prince actually sat. We believe that they are often very accurate. There are some images of Louis-Joseph with longer hair as an older boy. These appear, however, to be idealized portraits as he was very sick by 1786. Thus they may be idealized portraits rather than the more accurate portaits made earlier as a younger boy. These portraits show Louis-Charles with hair rather like that generally depicted for Louis-Charles. The artist here was Madame Elizabeth Vigee le Brun who became a friend of the Queen and painted several studies of the royal family.


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Created: May 13, 2002
Last updated: April 16, 2003