The Fearlessness pendant is like a tattoo. Wearers seem to infuse it with a real power or significance, which in turn gives strength to the wearer. It’s like a way to manifest the reality of courage—or a way for a survivor to embrace her courage, to acknowledge it.
For my history buffs, you know the Diamond Necklace Affair with Marie
Antoinette? Ok, so in the beginning of that whole fiasco, the jewelers
who made the damn thing and whose reputations were ruined later were
Boehmer and Bassenge in Paris.
Now that guy Boehmer, he had a wife named Renaud. And guess who slept with her behind Boehmer’s back?
HE’S APPEARS AT THESE AWKWARDLY AMAZING MOMENTS AND IT KILLS ME.
A few people asked for the list of films set in 18th century France I plan to watch… right now I’m focusing on films which are in English or have English subtitles and are available on DVD or streaming. (Hence no L'Autrichienne or Madame du Barry with Dolores Del Rio.)
* denotes a film I’ve already watched in full
Madame du Barry (1919)* Orphans of the Storm (1921) Scaramouche (1923) The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934)* A Tale of Two Cities (1935) La Marseillaise (1938) Marie Antoinette (1938)* The Black Book (1949) Scaramouche (1952)* Dangerous Exile (1958) Start the Revolution Without Me (1970) The Wild Child (1970) Lady Oscar (1979) The Rose of Versailles (1979) (TV Series) La nuit de Varennes (1982) The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) Danton (1983)* Dangerous Liasons (1988)* La Revolution Francaise* (1989)* Jefferson in Paris (1995) Ridicule (1996) Let Them Eat Cake (1999) (TV series) Quills (2000)* Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) The Lady and the Duke (2001)* The Affair of the Necklace (2001)* Marie Antoinette (2006)* Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) Versailles Film Trio (Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI) (2008-2011) Farewell, My Queen (2012)*
If anyone has any additions (in English or with English subtitles) please do share!
In honour of Mother’s Day, here is one of my favourite portraits of a mother and her children!
It was painted in 1787 by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Marie Antoinette’s official portraitist. It was intended to help restore the Queen’s damaged reputation following the infamous “Affair of the Necklace”, depicting her as the mother of the Children of France. She wears no necklace and her large jewel cabinet is closed behind her, her only jewellery a simple bracelet and earrings. It has echoes of the story of Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi, who presented her children when asked to present her true treasures. Louis XVI himself was very pleased with it and praised Madame Le Brun for the portrait. She wrote in her memoirs that he said to her “I know nothing about painting, but you make me like it.”
It originally depicted her with all four of her children, but her youngest daughter, Princess Sophie, died before the portrait was completed. She was originally portrayed lying in the cradle but was painted out after her death, leaving her elder brother Louis Joseph pointing at the empty space she’d occupied, a poignant reminder of the loss of the little girl. After Louis Joseph himself died in 1789, Marie Antoinette could no longer go through the room containing the portrait without crying, and asked for it to be taken away. Madame Lebrun would later write that she was convinced it was due to this request by the Queen that the portrait was preserved, as she was certain the mob who attacked Versailles would have destroyed it.
The portrait is currently on display at the Palace of Versailles once again, in the Antichambre du Grand Couvert, part of the Queen’s Apartments.