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Benoist, Marie-GuillemineDate of birth and death: 1768 - 1826
Nationality: FrenchUploaded artworks: 1
Marie-Guillemine Benoist, born Marie-Guillemine de Laville-Leroux was a French neoclassical, historical and genre painter. She was born in Paris, the daughter of a civil servant. Her training as an artist began in 1781 under Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, and she entered Jacques-Louis David's atelier in 1786. In 1791 she exhibited for the first time in the Salon de Paris, displaying her mythology-inspired picture Psyché faisant ses adieux à sa famille. Another of her paintings of this period, L'Innocence entre la vertu et le vice, is similarly mythological and reveals her feminist interests—in this picture, vice is represented by a man, although it was traditionally represented by a woman. Her work, reflecting the influence of Jacques-Louis David, tended increasingly toward history painting by 1795. In 1800, she exhibited Portrait d'une négresse in the Salon. Six years previously, slavery had been abolished, and this image became a symbol for women's emancipation and black people's rights. This picture was acquired by Louis XVIII for France in 1818. An important commission, for a full-length portrait of Napoléon Bonaparte—Premier Consul Français in this period—was awarded to her in 1803. This portrait was to be sent to the city of Ghent, newly ceded to France by the Treaty of Lunéville in 1801. Other honors came to her; she was awarded a Gold Medal in the Salon of 1804, and received a governmental allowance. During this time she opened an atelier for the artistic training of women. Her career was harmed by political developments. Despite being at the height of her popularity, she has to abandon her career, both painting and exposing, due to her devoir de réserve and the strongly enforced conservatism of the reactionary regime.
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