Portrait of Eugenia de Montijo

Portrait of Eugenia de Montijo
Portrait of Eugenia de Montijo

The original portrait ofEmpress Eugéniein court dress that she madeFranz Xaver Winterh alterwas the first official portrait of the wife of Emperor Napoleon III. It was painted around 1853 and exhibited at the Salon of 1855. It was later kept in the Palais des Tuileries and was probably lost during the fire of 1871. However, being one of the most iconic images of this woman so powerful at the time, copies of it were quickly made. Some were made in Winterh alter's own workshop, as is the case with this canvas by his disciplePierre Desiré Guillemet, which is now preserved in theMuseum of Paris Orsay.


Portrait of Eugenia de Montijo

Eugenia de Montijo, whose full name was Eugenia de Palafox Portocarrero and Kirkpatrick, was born in the city of Granada in 1826. He belonged to a we althy Spanish family, with some of the most relevant titles of the historical aristocracy, although his father had become an afrancesado since the times of the War of Independence. So it's not strange, that as a girl she was sent toFranceto study. And from there she traveled to various European countries, receiving a most select education.

The fact is that over the years she frequented the main social halls of Spain and France, since when she was youngdefinitely settled on Paris. And there she was to meet her future husband, a descendant of the famousNapoleon Bonaparte, and who would in turn becomeNapoleon III. In fact, they married in 1853 when he was already at the top of French politics.

Although at first she did not have the favor of the people, the truth is that she knew how to win it over time. And even more so when she gave birth to a son. She indeed she became the image of theSecond Empire. But she also had an evident influence as regent wife, both in the internal politics of France and in foreign affairs, since she promoted the French invasion of Mexico or was a fundamental part in the creation ofSuez Canal.


ella In addition, she took on an important role as a patron of the arts, supporting various artists such as the painter Franz Xaver Winterh alter himself or the writerProsper Merimée. Without forgetting her passion for fashion, which she even served to name several garments.

However, when the emperor fell, after losing the Franco-Prussian War, that meant the marriage was dethroned and they had to go into exile. Napoleon III died shortly after that, but Eugenia de Montijo survived him. In addition, their son also died. So she spent her last years away from the centers of power, first on the French coast, in British seaside resorts, and later in Madrid, where she died in 1920.

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