HC w/slipcase, 224 pp., 170 illus. 5 ½ × 9 in. (14 × 22.5 cm)
Marie Antoinette has certainly cast a spell over succeeding generations and having seen a portrait of her by Liotard in the exhibition of his works at the Royal Academy last year I can understand why. A daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa and the wife of Louis XVI she was a person who in turn received approbation, admiration, disapproval, hatred and eventually public execution.
This elegant book takes us into her world and helps us gain a clearer picture of her and her lifestyle. She certainly was, like Diana, Princess of Wales, a queen of fashion and as her apartments at Versailles and in the Petit Trianon reveal a woman of great taste. When one considers the formality of court life where etiquette ruled every aspect of daily life from rising in the morning to retiring to bed one can understand her wish to escape to a less rigid life away from the Palace.
The beautiful photographs, extracts from her letters all aid us to get a closer glimpse of this fascinating subject and this book is the next best thing to actually meeting her in person.
In an age when I suppose it could be suggested with all the use of mobile phones for taking photographs that we could be considered to be paparazzi. However I think that once you have read this in-depth study of the paparazzi industry most will agree that we have a long way to go to capture some of the iconic images of celebrities such as Jackie O, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Britney Spears, Mick Jagger, and OJ Simpson.
It seems strange to be writing this review so soon after the death of Anita Ekberg who was the star of Fellini’s 1960 film La Dolce Vita which was part of the origins of this photographic phenomenon as one of the characters in the film was a photographer called Paparazzo. The book looks at the processes, tricks of the trade, the relationship between celebrity and photographer in detail and features interviews with some of the more prominent photographers.
The impact of paparazzi images on artists such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Hamilton is also considered.