The House — Marie Antoinette

Today in our series of portraits on the women of CASA Marie Antoinette the one who names our color Rose Grisé.

Difficult portrait to draw than that of Marie-Antoinette. Unlike many of the women in this series, she is not distinguished by any extraordinary accomplishment. She resembles them, however, in this discrepancy that exists between her life and History.

Although she was not completely concealed and forgotten like most women, the memory imprinted in
collective memories is far from doing it justice.

Often depicted as a frivolous, silly and extravagant woman, she represents for many the luxury and outrageous abundance of the French court. This reputation already stuck to her during her lifetime, rather unfairly, because her lifestyle, admittedly too luxurious, was no more excessive than that of previous queens.

Her real flaw was her status as a foreigner, which never left her, and which made her commit serious errors of etiquette, the unspoken but very important rules of the court. She was therefore, throughout her life at the court of France, the perfect scapegoat and the source of many scandals, often fabricated from scratch like the necklace affair. Even today, he is wrongly attributed with the famous phrase “If they don't have bread, let them eat brioche. »

Daughter of Francis I of Lorraine, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, and Marie-Thérèse of Habsburg, Archduchess of Austria, Marie-Antoinette was born in Vienna on November 2, 1755. She married the Dauphin of France at the age 14 years to consolidate the recent alliance between their two countries. The one the French call the Austrian then becomes queen at the age of 18.

Marie-Antoinette loves the arts and will be the patron of several musicians and composers. She had a small theater built and even played there several times. She isolates herself in her world, spends her life in the Petit Trianon and its hamlet. She surrounds herself with her friends and according to rumors, lovers and even lovers. She spends money, her husband encourages her and makes sure to keep her very far from all political issues. Her image, already marked by her status as a foreigner, deteriorates as she is seen more as a favorite squandering the national fortune than a queen.

If initially her enemies were mainly at court, she gradually alienated the people and became the favorite target of criticism of the monarchy, which became more and more frequent with the approach of the revolution. Truly hated and constantly slandered, caricatured,

Marie-Antoinette withdraws even more into her world and into her role as mother, a role that she takes very seriously.

The kingdom of France is doing very badly politically and financially and as the revolution breaks out, the frustration of the people crystallizes around Marie-Antoinette, especially since she ardently defends absolute monarchy, which is all the same understandable because she learned that this was in the order of things and that she thought this would ensure the future of her son, heir to the throne.

In October 1789, the royal family left Versailles for the Tuilerie Palace in Paris, escorted by an angry crowd.

In 1791, an attempt to escape from the royal family ended in their arrest and their forced return to Paris. That same year, Olympe de Gouge, a revolutionary woman at the time advocating representative monarchy, sent her her Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizens in which she wrote this famous sentence: "Woman has the right to mount the scaffold ; she must also have the right to go up to the Tribune.” This pioneering text of feminism does not transform Marie-Antoinette into a revolutionary, however.

On August 10, 1792, the Palais des Tuileries was taken by the people. The royal family was therefore imprisoned in the temple prison.

On January 21, 1793, Louis XVI was beheaded without a real trial.

In autumn 1793, Marie-Antoinette goes before the revolutionary court. During his trial he was accused of incest, but above all of being the source of almost all the problems of the Kingdom of France. Without real evidence, but without real defense either, Marie-Antoinette was found guilty, despite the efforts of certain revolutionaries, including Olympe de Gouges, who opposed the death penalty and who had offered to be the lawyer for the Royal family.

On February 16, 1793, she climbed the scaffold in the absence of the Tribune.

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