LEFÈVRE, Robert
(b. 1755, Bayeux, d. 1830, Paris)

Pauline as Daphne Fleeing from Apollo

c. 1810
Oil on canvas, 119 x 105 cm
Private collection

Lefèvre probably painted Napoleon's favourite sister Marie-Pauline (1780-1825) more frequently than any other artist. This painting shows the princess, who had a great zest for life, as a mythological figure. The subject gave the artist the opportunity to display his talents both as a portrait painter and as master of the mythological subject. But that also shows that the Baroque tradition of allegory was not entirely broken. The landscape in the painting suggest Arcadia, but the Tempietto at Tivoli also documents the Princess' new domain. The figures look as if they are floating, the fluttering cloths form sharp-edged bunches, and Daphne's light feet are like those of a ballet dancer. It is a feature frequently to be found in Lefèvre's work.