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Drawing of Princess Isabel (1875)

Drawing of Princess Isabel (1875)

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In 1875, Princess Isabel draws Pedro, her first newborn son, sleeping.

  • Drawing of Princess Isabel, by her son Pedro.
  • One sheet pasted over another.
  • 24cm x 16cm.
  • Annotation in French.
  • Petrópolis, October 1875.
  • Fragile state.
  • Unique piece.

Baby, this is for Isabelle.
Petropolis, October 1875

Princess Isabel of Brazil, daughter of Dom Pedro II and Dona Teresa Cristina, had a great interest in drawing and painting. She began taking lessons when she was a child and continued to practice these activities throughout her adult life. I liked drawing landscapes, flowers, art objects, people and animals. Some of Princess Isabel's drawings show scenes from her everyday life, such as a view of the Imperial Palace of São Cristóvão or portraits of members of the royal family. In addition, there are drawings that show landscapes of places she visited, such as Petrópolis, the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro and the city of Paris.

Artistic production was a common activity among elite Brazilian women at the time, especially among those who had access to formal education. But Princess Isabel also supported the arts and culture in general, having been a patron of artists, writers and musicians from Brazil and Europe: this was an important aspect of her private life.

It is not known exactly where Princess Isabel's interest in art came from, but it is possible that she was influenced by her father, Emperor Dom Pedro II, who was a patron of the arts and encouraged the cultural development of Brazil.

The Imperial Museum, in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, maintains in its collection some works by Princess Isabel, including drawings, watercolors and oil paintings. The National Library of Rio de Janeiro also has some works by Princess Isabel, including drawings and paintings. However, examples of Princess Elizabeth's drawings are scarce, and much of her artistic work was kept in private collections or government archives. Some of these works may even have been lost over time.

Pedro, shown here sleeping, had only a few months to live. He was the first child of Princess Isabel and Conde d'Eu after losing Luisa, who died in childbirth, an immense trauma for the couple. We can feel, in this extremely delicate drawing, all the Princess's affection and happiness with this "baby", after so much suffering. The two handwritten lines are in her hand too.

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