The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo
  • France
  • c.1730 - 1740
  • Miniature
  • Painted on vellum
  • Image size: 5.8 x 4.7 cm
    Frame size: 9.9 x 6.8 cm
  • Inscription: '1703' In pencil
    Inscription: 'Mr Siegfried Lowenthal / 10 / Taunus Str. / Frankfort, o / …' Engraved
  • M130
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo (1710-1770) was one of the most famous dancers of the early eighteenth century in Europe. She belonged to a group of female stage dancers at a time when ballet had just ceased to be a primarily male domain. Camargo became known for her athletic style, which Lancret (1690-1743) attempted to capture in his famous portraits of her, for example Marie-Anne de Cupis de Camargo Dancing, 1730 (P393), in the Wallace Collection.

    This portrait miniature resembles documented portraits of Camargo closely enough to support the identification of the sitter. Some of the woman’s features, such as her wide jaw and small chin, are characteristic of Camargo. Her dress ‘a la polonaise’ and the heavy make-up also support the identification with an actress or dancer. However, no known painted portrait of her has thus far been identified as a model for the miniature, nor does it resemble any of the numerous existing portrait engravings.

    In its style the portrait echoes that of Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766), a particularly fashionable and trend-setting portrait painter of the period, who developed a new formula for the female portrait. Closest in style are Nattier’s portraits of the 1730s, such as his portrait of Mlle de Chartres of 1731 (private collection). The 1730’s were also the period of Camargo’s greatest fame. The portrait is thus likely to be a contemporary rendering of the famous dancer painted in the 1730s. A comparable portrait miniature of Camargo, attributed to Jacques Charlier is in the Louvre.