Bust of Madame Récamier
Joseph Chinard, French, Bust of Madame Récamier, ca. 1801, Marble; 60.6 x 33.7 x 23.5 cm (23 7/8 x 13 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches), Gift of Mrs. Harold Brown 37.201
Juliette Récamier (1777–1849) was a renowned hostess of French society during the decades following the French Revolution and through the rise of Napoléon I. Married at a young age to a man thirty years older, she lived a privileged social life, but her primary interest was to encourage exchange of opinions among a diverse circle of artists, politicians, and partisans of both the Monarchy and the Empire. Visitors to Madame Récamier’s salon marveled at her charm and intelligence. This marble bust, which belonged to Madame Récamier, portrays her in the full flower of her beauty. Her downcast eyes and the faint smile on her lips were intended to communicate her modesty, while her upswept hair, encircled by a wide bandeau and held with a jeweled comb, represents the classicized elegance of feminine style during the Napoleonic era.