Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755 – 1842) was born in Paris. Her father was an artist who encouraged her interest in art.
She was taught by Gabriel François Doyen, Pierre Davesne and also by Gabriel Briard. She also took lessons from well-known artists as Joseph Vernet, Hubert Robert and Jean-Baptiste Greuze.
In 1774 she was accepted into the painters’ guild of the Académie de Saint-Luc and in 1776 was encouraged by her mother to marry the art dealer Jean-Baptiste Pierre Le Brun.
As a popular portraitist among the French aristocracy, in 1778 she was called to Versailles to paint a state portrait of Marie Antoinette and after that became the queen’s favorite portraitist.
Throughout the 1780s Vigée Le Brun created portraits of members of the French royal court and aristocracy but also several informal and sensitive self-portraits.
In 1789 sensing the coming of the revolution, Vigée Le Brun left France with her daughter and traveled in Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Russia where continued to work as a portraitist of royalty and aristocrats.
She returned briefly to Paris in 1802 and from 1803–1805 lived in London. She finally returned in Paris where her daughter died in 1819.
Her later work included some mythological scenes and many portraits of notable individuals.