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Artist:     French miniature, around 1800
Title:     Portrait miniature of Anne ˋNinon´de Lenclos (1620-1705), famous French author, courtesan, freethinker and patron of the arts
Item ID   6496
Price:     1200.00 €


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Oval miniature painted in oil on copper around 1800  by a French miniature artist, representing the famous French courtesan, woman of spirit, epistolary and woman of letters Anne de l'Enclos, called Ninon de Lenclos, baptized in Paris on November 10, 1620 and died in Paris on October 17, 1705.  For comparison with other famous portraits miniatures of Ninon see our last 4 additionally images.

French oil miniature on cooper depicting young beautiful Ninon de l´Enclos (1620-1705), famous French author, courtesan, freethinker and patron of the arts. On the back side of the miniature as well as on the back cover has an inscription with her name and dating of creation. On additional photos you can see a few fully identical her images on other famous miniatures of the period.Anne "Ninon" de l´Enclos also spelled Ninon de Lenclos and Ninon de Lanclos (10 November 1620-17 October 1705) was a French author, courtesan, freethinker, and patron of the arts. A respected courtesan in 17th century France, she was generally admired for her style and manners. Eventually reaching legendary status, her wit and beauty were as renowned as her love affairs. Born Anne de Lenclos in Paris, she was nicknamed "Ninon" by her father at an early age. In 1632 her father was exiled from France after a duel, and when her mother died ten years later the unmarried Ninon entered a convent, only to leave the next year. For the remainder of her life, she was determined to remain unmarried and independent.Returning to Paris, she became a popular figure in the salons, and her own drawing room became a centre for the discussion and consumption of the literary arts. In her early thirties she was responsible for encouraging the young Molière, and when she died she left money for the son of her accountant, a nine-year old named François Marie Arouet, later to become known as Voltaire, so he could buy books.It was during this period that her life as a realism portrait painting courtesan began. Ninon took a succession of notable and wealthy lovers, including the King´s cousin the Great Condé, Gaston de Coligny, and François, duc de La Rochefoucauld. These men did not support her, however; she prided herself on her independent income. "Ninon always had crowds of adorers but never more than one lover at a time, and when she tired of the present occupier, she said so frankly and took another. Yet such was the authority of this wanton, that no man dared fall out with his successful rival; he was only too happy to be allowed to visit as a familiar friend, Saint-Simon wrote. This life (not as acceptable in those days as it would become in later years) and her opinions on organized religion caused her some trouble, and she was imprisoned in the Madelonnettes Convent in 1656 at the behest of Anne of Austria, Queen of France and regent for her son Louis XIV. Not long after, however, she was visited by Christina, former queen of Sweden. Are Impressed, Christina wrote to Cardinal Mazarin on Ninon´s behalf and are pre-arranged for her release.In response, as an author she defended the possibility of living a good life in the absence of religion, notably in La coquette vengée 1659´s ("The Flirt Avenged"). She was also noted for her wit; among her numerous sayings and quips are "Much more genius is needed to make love than to command armies" and "We should take care to lay in a stock of provisions, but not of pleasures: these should be gathered day by day." A picture of Ninon, under the name of Damo, was sketched in Mlle de Scudéry´s Clélie (1654-1660).Starting in the late 1660s she retired from her realism portrait painting courtesan lifestyle and concentrated more on her literary friends — from 1667, she hosted her gatherings at l ´ Hôtel Sagonne, which was considered "the" location of the salon of Ninon de l´Enclos despite other locales in the past. During this time she was a friend of Jean Racine, the great French playwright. Later she would become a close friend with the devout Françoise d´Aubigné, better known as Madame de Maintenon, the lady-in-waiting who would later become the second wife of Louis XIV. Saint-Simon wrote that "The lady did not like her to be mentioned in her presence, but dared not disown her, and wrote cordial letters to her from time to time, to the day of her death". Ninon eventually died at the age of 84, as a very wealthy woman. To the end, she "was convinced that she had no soul, and never abandoned that conviction, not even in advanced old age, not even at the hour of her death." Ninon de l´Enclos is a relatively obscure figure in the English-speaking world, but is much better known in France where her name is synonymous with the wit and beauty. Saint-Simon noted "Ninon made friends among the great in every walk of life, had the wit and intelligence enough to keep them, and, what is more, to keep them friendly with one another."Dorothy Parker wrote the poem Ninon De Lenclos [sic] On Her Last Birthday. "

Provenance: private estate in South France.

Literature: Roger Duchêne, Ninon de l´Enclos: La courtisane du grand siècle (Paris 1984); in on-line: ;´Enclos%22&biw=1024&bih=672&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw&ei=miVqU-rwH-SuygPQ8ILAAw#facrc=_

Inscription: unsigned.

Technique: oil on cooper, old white metal baroque style  frame.

Measurements: unframed w 2 1/2" x h 3 1/8" (6,5 x 8 cm), framed w 7 2/3" x h 5 1/2"(9,3 x 14 cm).

Condition: in good condition

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