A PORTRAIT CONCEIVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF REBUS? HENRYK LUBOMIRSKI AS THE GENIUS OF FAME, BY ELISABETH VIGÉE LEBRUN (1789)
Brought up by a blood relation of princess Izabella Lubomirska of the Czartoryskis, prince Henryk Lubomirski (1777-1850) was apparently renowned among the aristocracy of Europe for his good looks; hence the portraits by, amongst others, Angelica Kauffmann and Antonio Canova's celebrated sculpture, depicting the youth most typically as Amour naked. Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun portrayed the boy three times. The subject of this article is the portrait defined by the artiste as 'Le petit prince Lubomirski, en amour de la Gloire'. It is claimed that a replica of the portrait gave rise to the painting known as 'La Génie de l'Empereur Alexandre I' (housed in the Hermitage). The standard interpretation found in previous publications on the subject is categorically rejected that he (Lubomirski) is 'the genius of fame' (Fama). The key to solving the question lies in the way Vigée-Lebrun defined the work, bearing in mind that the personifications depicted thus far have been misinterpreted. Reference is additionally made to portraits bearing titles that were riddles of the names of those depicted, one of Henryk Lubomirski actually being attributed by the article's author to Izabella Czartoryska.
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