Portrait of the Marquis and Marchioness of Miramon and their Children - James Tissot, 1865. Detail.
Here Tissot displays an elegant mastery of the rules of society portrait painting, and its composition is his most complex yet.
The choice of a natural setting, rare in the history of French portrait painting, echoes the aristocratic English portrait set in the countryside. By borrowing from the English style in this way, the artist moves outside the established conventions.
From 1859, Tissot had decided to assert his love of all things English by adopting the first name James, and this picture, in complete accord with the wishes of his models, provides one of his first artistic expressions of this passion.
In addition, the beautiful autumnal note of the painting owes much to Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John Everett Millais, English artists whom Tissot used to visit in London. He does however remain faithful to the Ingres style, particularly in the shimmering fabrics, which bring out his delicate and precise touch and provide a reminder of the family’s commercial interests in drapery and hats.
Muscovy became a distinct principality during the second half of the 13th century under the rule of Daniel, the youngest son of the Rurik prince Alexander Nevsky.
Located in the midst of forests and at the intersection of important trade routes, it was well protected from invasion and well situated for lucrative commerce. In 1326 it became the permanent residence of the Russian metropolitan of the Orthodox church.
image: The Foundation of Moscow, Apollinary Vasnetsov