Skip to main content
Princess Pauline de Metternich
Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas
/

Princess Pauline Sander (1836–1921) was the wife of Prince Richard Metternich, the Austro-Hungarian Ambassador at the court of Napoleon III from 1860 to 1871. Known as the ‘ambassadress of pleasure’, she was a glamorous figure in Parisian high society during the Second Empire. A pioneer of fashion, she promoted new styles of dress, including the crinoline.

The Princess had already been painted by the society portraitist Franz Xaver Winterhalter, and by the French seascape artist Eugène Boudin. However, Degas, who was still a young artist, did not paint his portrait of the Princess from life. Instead, he made a partial copy of a full-length visiting card photograph of her and her husband taken around 1867.

This is one of the first painted portraits to have been based on a photograph, and Degas makes no attempt to disguise its origin. Unlike the sharply focused photograph, however, Degas’s painting conveys the effect of blurred movement, as if the Princess has just been caught turning her head.

Key facts
Artist Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas
Artist dates 1834 - 1917
Full title Princess Pauline de Metternich
Date made about 1865
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 41 x 29 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Art Fund, 1918
Inventory number NG3337
Location in Gallery Room 42
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo