Saturday, November 04, 2006

What You Won't See in "Marie Antoinette"

"The perfumer was shocked by his first visit to the palace for some of the reasons it must also have shocked Marie Antoinette, who had grown up in a court and a family where impeccable hygiene was an article of faith. Not only did courtiers at Versailles look embalmed behind their masks of white powder and rouge but the many who bathed only once a year smelled like corpses. The filthy halls and courtyards stank of the excrement from humans and pets; dead cats floated in stagnant water; and a butcher plied his trade—gutting and roasting pigs—at the entrance to the ministers’ wing."

--JUDITH THURMAN, "DRESSED FOR EXCESS; Marie Antoinette, out of the closet," The New Yorker, Sept. 25, 2006

(In case you're interested, there's a bunch of Marie Antoinette portraits here. And although Halloween's over, some of you might be interested in this. There's always next year!)

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