The character Duparc, D’Urfé’s lover, is based upon a real female painter of the time but about whom not a great deal is known. What is known about her work is that she largely adopted a simple style and painted everyday life. Like D’Urfé and Gabrielle, our Duparc is a woman who is subverting the expectations placed upon women at the time, and not merely in her relationship with D’Urfé but in her profession as a painter. Study by female painters of nudes was deemed inappropriate, effectively barring them from life-drawing classes. For a woman to hire her own male model was likely to incur significant reputational damage. There was even criticism in some quarters that it was immodest for women to display their painting skills publicly. The Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture of Paris capped the number of women admitted. For Duparc, therefore, to paint an erotic scene as she does in ‘Casanova in Paris’ would have been to fly directly in the face of these social prohibitions.
‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ is freely available here.
27 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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