R is for Récamier: A-to-Z Challenge

W00 HOOKERS COUCHRécamier is the proper name for the chaise lounge or fainting couch.  It was named after the famous painting, below, of Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard, aka Juliette Récamier (1777–1849), a French society woman who led a salon in the early 19th century drawing Parisians from leading literary and political circles.

Récamier Jacques-Louis_David_016She married Jacques-Rose Récamier at 15.  He was 30 years her senior and rumored to be her true father; they never consummated the marriage, and it is speculated he married her to make her his heir.  Récamier wrote the following in a letter, indicating his relationship with her mother may have been more than merely platonic: “It may be said that my feelings for the daughter arise out of those I have had for her mother; but all those who frequent the house are well aware that what took me there was pure friendship, a friendship which had grown out of the possibly somewhat warmer feeling I may have had in the earlier days of our acquaintance. At present, having reached an age when all other pretensions are past, she only wishes to educate her child, and make her a virtuous and good woman”.   (Edouard Herriot, Madame Récamier, London: William Heinemann, 1906.)

Her famous portrait by Jacques Louis David gave rise to naming fainting couches after her, hence, récamier.  This style of bench has always been quite popular for images of women, and especially of nudes, both before and after Juliette Récamier.

AA1363picasso reclining-nude-1932 ©MPF Conservation.  May be printed for your own use only,
not for use on blogs without permission.
Many images courtesy Wikipedia or
Wikipaintings, and used in accordance with their site.

About dkatiepowellart

hollywood baby turned beach gurl turned steel&glass city gurl turned cowgurl turned herb gurl turned green city gurl. . . artist writer photographer. . . cat lover but misses our big dogs, gone to heaven. . . buddhist and interested in the study of spiritual traditions. . . foodie, organic, lover of all things mik, partner in conservation business mpfconservation, consummate blogger, making a dream happen, insomniac who is either reading buddhist teachings or not-so-bloody mysteries or autobio journal thangs early in the morning when i can't sleep
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3 Responses to R is for Récamier: A-to-Z Challenge

  1. This is Mitchell commenting, the other half of MPF Conservation. To add to Kate’s commentary: I conserve a fair amount of objects, (small tables, upholstered chairs & settees) from the late 18th to early 19th century. Much of the decorative elements show a strong inclination toward Greek, Roman & Etruscan styles. The discovery of Pompeii during the last half of the 18th century and the subsequent unearthing of frescos depicting daily life in this cosmopolitan 6th century BCE city, along with the publishing of tomes like Edward Gibbons, “The Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire”, led to interest in all things “Classical”. Empire gowns, coiffures and decorative arts became dominated by these styles. The themes continue to be revived, even in contemporary furnishings, though most do not recognize the foundation of the elements and styles. I maintain, the Greeks and Roman’s are among us, still!

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  2. This is Mitchell commenting, the other half of MPF Conservation. To add a bit to Kate’s commentary: I conserve a fair amount of objects, (small tables, upholstered chairs & settees) from the late 18th to early 19th century. Much of the decorative elements show a strong inclination toward Greek, Roman & Etruscan styles. The discovery of Pompeii during the last half of the 18th century and the subsequent unearthing of frescos depicting daily life in this cosmopolitan 6th century BCE city, along with the publishing of tomes like Edward Gibbons, “The Rise & Fall of the Roman Empire”, led to interest in all things “Classical”. Empire gowns, coiffures and decorative arts became dominated by these styles. I maintain, the Roman’s and Greeks are still among us, but few have the eyes to understand. The classical elements continue to be revived in furnishings being manufactured today, they grace our homes, but few understand their foundations. Hopefully this little piece, created by Kate, will entice you to take a look around your home, your city, notice how many elements are in existence which are from millennia past. You will be surprised! So, “When in Rome”…….

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  3. Marci says:

    Wow – I had no idea! That’s a lot of history, and a lot of style. Beautiful paintings, too! 🙂

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