Franz Winterhalter Painted Child Portraits
My ‘Princess Charly’ was inspired by Franz Winterhalter’s’ masterpiece ‘Princess Charlotte of Belgium’. Winterhalter was the go-to painter for European royalty in the mid nineteenth century. He is most well known for his court portraiture and painting child portraits. Winterhalter’s fame spread across the globe; but he gradually lost favor with art critics because he tended to flatter and romanticize his subjects. Happily, he became popular and wealthy from his tactfulness!
Princess Charlotte was born in Brussels in 1840, the only daughter of King Leopold I and his second wife, Louise of Orleans. Charlotte was about 8 years old when Winterhalter painted her.
At seventeen, she married Archduke (rarely called ‘Archie’) Maximilian of Austria. in 1864 French Emperor Napoleon III asked Maximilian to become Emperor of Mexico. Charlotte embraced her new country. She changed her name to Carlotta and enjoyed exploring the Mayan ruins. I know this doesn’t have anything to do with painting child portraits; but bear with me.
After three years, France grew weary of the difficulty and expense of occupying Mexico. They recalled their troops and reduced supplies. This caused Carlotta to return to France to plead for assistance. Juarez led Mexican resistance fighters to retake control of the country. Maxmilian was promptly executed (firing squad). His last words were ‘Poor Carlotta’. Back in Belgium, Carlotta became clinically depressed. She spent the remainder of her life in seclusion (a quaint suburb of Meise) and died in 1927.
Back to painting child portraits. After this depressing vignette, wouldn’t you like to have your spirits lifted by a fabulous original oil painting?
I’m Painting Child Portraits for Christmas!
‘Princess Charly’ was great fun to paint. I’d like to spend the next few weeks painting child portraits for friends to give as Christmas presents. Do you have a young family member who deserves to be a prince or princess?
I’ll need to start soon to have your painting ready for Christmas.
Call me and let’s talk about it! (512) 422-0654