I’ve recently discovered Europeana, a great site for text, videos, and images. It’s especially great for portraits. Here, for example, are some portraits of Athénaïs de Montespan, some of which I’ve never seen before:
This one above is credited to Ernest and Mignard. One can see how plump she has become. Here is another by Mignard with a similar theme:
Athénaïs is often portrayed with her children, no doubt to secure her link to the King. This is another portrait by Mignard:
And this one by Charles de La Fosse:
This image by Pierre Gobert is presumed to be of her, and I suspect it likely so:
Her lounging pose was unusual for the time; comfort was a new concept. Here again is a striking study by Nicolas Mignard:
This image of Athénaïs at her chateau at Clagny (Versailles now) is curious: bare legs!
This image, artist unknown (and previously thought to portray Louise de la Vallière) shows a younger Athénaïs with droopy eyes. Might this have been considered the come-hither look?
Here is another, likely even younger portrait, showing her unusual and slightly protruding eyes.
Here is a fashon plate, dated 1694. I doubt very much that Athénaïs would have been so slender at that time.
I could easily be on this site all day.
“Mme Guillotine” recently posted this very unusual and stunning portrait of Montespan on Instagram.
I’d love to know who the artist is. If you know, let me know!