Author Topic: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family  (Read 170834 times)

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Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #240 on: July 19, 2011, 03:11:03 AM »
Anyone read Leopold's comments on Maria Amalia in his 1778 "State of the Family" assessment? I just read his 1776 comments on Mimi, and he seemed to have disliked Mimi a lot (well, she was quite nasty), I've only read an excerpt but it said it went on page after page...?  I read Leopold criticised everyone in that 1778 document but what were his specific comments on Maria Amalia? Thank you in advance, if ever.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 03:36:17 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #241 on: July 19, 2011, 01:08:48 PM »
Anyone read Leopold's comments on Maria Amalia in his 1778 "State of the Family" assessment? I just read his 1776 comments on Mimi, and he seemed to have disliked Mimi a lot (well, she was quite nasty), I've only read an excerpt but it said it went on page after page...?  I read Leopold criticised everyone in that 1778 document but what were his specific comments on Maria Amalia? Thank you in advance, if ever.

In 1778/1779 Leopold wrote simply that "She [Maria Theresa] is especially angry with Parma, wants to hear nothing more about it, and mingles no longer either directly or indirectly in its business"  - that was it with regard to Maria Amalia, as by Parma Leopold did not of course mean Ferdinand.  He goes on at length about his other siblings, but this is not perhaps appropriate for this thread.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #242 on: July 19, 2011, 11:46:19 PM »
In 1778/1779 Leopold wrote simply that "She [Maria Theresa] is especially angry with Parma, wants to hear nothing more about it, and mingles no longer either directly or indirectly in its business"  - that was it with regard to Maria Amalia, as by Parma Leopold did not of course mean Ferdinand.  He goes on at length about his other siblings, but this is not perhaps appropriate for this thread.

Oh, thank you! It seems that Leopold did not have any grave issues with his sister since his comments were limited to what their mother felt..... From what I have read, Leopold and Maria Amalia seem to have quite a warm relationship, and Leopold wanting to go to Parma in 1772 (when MT forbidden all communication) is quite touching, considering that MT criticised him as "cold and reserved".

Still, I'm unclear as to why Maria Theresa was so angry..... Maria Amalia's behaviour at that point was better. Perhaps it was the lack of influence in Parma mentioned earlier. Or perhaps it was due to MT's temper and imaginings/suspicions going worse.... or maybe it had to do with other problems but she chose to focus her wrath on her daughter instead.  I guess MT's anger was the reason why Johann Zoffany's portrait done in Parma (1778) only showed her grandchildren, and not the duke and the duchess while the Zoffany portrait done in Florence earlier showed her grandchildren there with their parents!  
« Last Edit: July 19, 2011, 11:56:33 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #243 on: July 20, 2011, 05:00:49 AM »
Quote
Still, I'm unclear as to why Maria Theresa was so angry..... Maria Amalia's behaviour at that point was better. Perhaps it was the lack of influence in Parma mentioned earlier. Or perhaps it was due to MT's temper and imaginings/suspicions going worse.... or maybe it had to do with other problems but she chose to focus her wrath on her daughter instead.

I imagine that whatever Maria Amalia's ostensible behaviour towards her mother, Parma was the one place where Maria Theresa had no influence at all, and every time the place was mentioned it reminded Maria Theresa of her failures there, where she had to give way to her child rather than the other way around.  However, Leopold's memorandum, quoted - I think in full in Karl A Roider Jr's 'Maria Theresa' in the 'Great lives observed' series, Prentice-Hall 1973 - paints a rather sad picture of the empress, often bad-tempered as her faculties and health declined at the end of her life (although of course this is all filtered through Leopold's rather severe viewpoint).  Maria Amalia was not by any means especially singled out by Maria Theresa's bad temper at this time, according to Leopold, although fuller discussion of what she said about her other children is perhaps not relevant for this thread.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #244 on: July 20, 2011, 09:52:26 AM »
Parma was the one place where Maria Theresa had no influence at all, and every time the place was mentioned it reminded Maria Theresa of her failures there, where she had to give way to her child rather than the other way around.  However, Leopold's memorandum, quoted - I think in full in Karl A Roider Jr's 'Maria Theresa' in the 'Great lives observed' series, Prentice-Hall 1973 - paints a rather sad picture of the empress, often bad-tempered as her faculties and health declined at the end of her life (although of course this is all filtered through Leopold's rather severe viewpoint).  Maria Amalia was not by any means especially singled out by Maria Theresa's bad temper at this time, according to Leopold.

Thanks again! I haven't read that work by Karl A. Roider, Jr. Yes, Maria Theresa's temper was even worse at that point. I have great sympathy for all her children who had to "bear" the brunt of it.

By 1778/1779, Maria Amalia had turned into her country pursuits and traveling on an almost full-time basis. While all that had her husband's approval (or at least his tolerance), I can't imagine MT greeting such news with happiness. They probably led to renewed feelings of anger, on top of what happened before. I'm certain Maria Amalia's behaviour was better then, and there seems to be no major complaints from France and Spain.  
« Last Edit: July 20, 2011, 09:55:49 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Marc

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #245 on: July 31, 2011, 11:34:29 AM »
Maria Amalia in 1795 by Francisco Vieira.


Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #246 on: July 31, 2011, 10:00:07 PM »
Thanks, Marc. :)  You are wonderful with portraits.

This portrait seems better than Maria Amalia's 1991 portrait by Johann Zoffany. I think she was also wore some sort of a hunting dress there.  She's far from being a beauty at age 49 but at least she doesn't look that arrogant (which she can be in many of her early and later portraits) in this 1995 portrait.  
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 10:02:31 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #247 on: August 02, 2011, 03:22:16 PM »
Thanks Marc ! Where did you found this painting ? Amalia looked very relaxed and natural here.  ;)

Judging on the daughters of Maria Theresa, most of them have lovely fresh complexion (peaches & cream type) which was their main claim to beauty. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #248 on: August 02, 2011, 10:41:13 PM »
I meant 1791 and 1795 in the post above, not 1991 and 1995!

I'm not sure, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun described Maria Amalia was 'very pale' in 1790 -- so perhaps her skin was "scarily" white by then?
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #249 on: August 03, 2011, 12:16:20 PM »
I think it could be white powder ? Both her sisters were praised for their "white skin" & "milky arms". Such remarks reminded me when Ingrid Bergman first came to Hollywood, her natural complexion was much praised.

Offline ivanushka

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #250 on: August 03, 2011, 01:03:18 PM »
I think she looks rather handsome in the portrait, though rather masculine too.

Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #251 on: August 03, 2011, 02:53:46 PM »
She was part of the horsey set and not very into jewels & clothes. More Camilla than Diana in outlook.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #252 on: August 03, 2011, 09:40:46 PM »
I think she started to be masculine in some ways in the 1780s. An English traveler in 1783 described her as tall, slender but not nearly as good looking as (her brother) the emperor, somewhat masculine in her manners. I didn't expect her to be a 'dainty' lady at all (once I have read more about her later life) since she preferred to be away from court, either traveling or into the country pursuits she liked so much, and she was with animals  most of the time. I don't know much about her toilette but the autopsy on her body said she took very good care of her hair, hands, and feet. But aside from that, she was far from vain about her appearance - dressing badly and oddly at that - by her late 30s onwards.  

I'm not sure whether she used white powder extensively. From many accounts, this generation of Habsburg-Lorraine archduchesses had naturally white and good complexion, barring any smallpox marks. Maria Amalia didn't seem to have any visible pock marks though - at least none that was written about. It was Maria Elisabeth and Marie Antoinette who were written about having such marks.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2011, 09:52:50 PM by prinzheinelgirl »
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Offline Eric_Lowe

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #253 on: August 04, 2011, 09:22:17 AM »
Yes. In that she was very different from her siblings. I think that was what Mimi said about "her glamour gone".

Offline prinzheinelgirl

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Re: Duke Ferdinand of Parma, his wife Maria Amalia,their family
« Reply #254 on: August 05, 2011, 03:15:54 AM »
Yes. In that she was very different from her siblings. I think that was what Mimi said about "her glamour gone".

Let's get the timeline straight, shall we? I am quite annoyed by many writers referring to that line to prove her "rebelliousness" and "unhappiness". Mimi visited in 1776. Other than that remark, which I don't find very credible at all,  we have no other "guide" as to her looks,glamour, dressing style, etc. except for her portraits done 1776 onwards and that remark by an English traveler in 1783. Her portrait by Alexander Roslin looks good, arguably better than Mimi's by the same artist, and that was in 1778. We have at least two portraits seemingly done in her late 30s. Then her older portraits by Zoffany (1791) and Veiera (1795) and a few unnamed ones seemingly done by the 1790s. Certainly, by her mid/late 30s her facial features turned sharp, just like her sister Maria Anna's, but it seemed like a genetic thing because they shared similar physical problems, not because she was "miserable" (as Mimi seemed to imply) or out of rebellion/wildness or whatever else.  

How is Maria Amalia different from her siblings then?  I very much agree that she wasn't a fashion plate and could have dressed better. On the other hand, I think it is to her credit that she didn't, at least no one can accuse her of wasting money on such things.  

Marie Antoinette spent a lot on clothes and accessories but did that keep her young and  good-looking (not that she was such a beauty in the first place) and we know that she was fat and looking older than her years by the mid-late 1780s. I have never read that Maria Carolina was such a fashion plate although she also patronised Rose Bertin and Leonard (Marie Antoinette's dressmaker and hairdresser); she wasn't also a beauty. I have no idea whether Mimi was fashionable but judging from a portrait (or was it an engraving?) I saw of her in Brussels, she was very fat and rather ugly by the early 1790s.      
« Last Edit: August 05, 2011, 03:30:39 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
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