What is wrong with this portrait, why did it cause a big scandal in its time?

The painting forever converted Sargent’s life.

John Sargent is a well-known artist who began his career in France and ended in the USA, and all this is related to one painting… “Portrait of Madame X” is the name of the painting that forever converted Sargent’s life.

The painting eternalizes the beauty of Virginia Gautreau. After the death of her father, the girl moved with her mother from America to France. In Paris, she was instantly fortunate to marry a banker, and this was her card to high society. But it was not possible to enter the very elite of Virginia. She made an attempt to make a name for herself with a painting by a well-known artist, but it didn’t go well.

Sargent captured the beauty in a tight black dress that demonstrated her beautiful shoulders, and the shoulder strap falling off her shoulders made her even more attractive. Both the artist and the model expected that this portrait would make them Beaumont’s protagonists. And so, it occurred, but not in a good way. Society did not accept the portrait of Sargent, they considered the image of Virginia “too daft”. Even after the artist recut the strap of the dress and lifted it up, this did not change the situation.

Sargent lost all his clients and had to leave for the United States, as he managed to gain a reputation as well as recognition there.

But Virginia was much less lucky, currently, the path to high society was closed to her permanently.

Interestingly, a few years later, the artist named Gustave Courtois would paint absolutely the same picture of Madame X, but with a mirrored profile as well as wearing a white dress. But this image will be quite positively perceived by society.

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