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We shall not resume the history of this repentant sinner, who by many has been confounded with Mary Magdalen, as we have already mentioned in n°s 19 and 97; we shall merely remind our readers that this celebrated beauty after having lived in dissipation, wished to return to righteousness, and feeling the vanity of those gaudy dresses, upon which she had set so much value, she refused to wear them, and sold them in order to relieve the distresses of the poor.
Le Brun, first painter to Louis XIV, was ordered by madame de la Valière to paint this picture for the Carmelite convent, in the rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jacques, at Paris, where she had taken the habit under the name of Louise de la Misé ricorde. The similarity of situation in which those two persons, so celebrated for their beauty and their repentance, had been placed has no doubt given credit to the opinion that this picture was a portrait of madame La Vallière representing Magdalen. But this assertion is unfounded, and the countenance presents no features of resemblance.
Brienne, in his Memoirs, speaks of the opposition which the king had made to her having her portrait painted in the character of Magdalen; and doubtless in her retreat mademoiselle de La Vallière would not have wished, to recall to her mind an idea which she had entertained at the time of her triumph.
The print engraved of this picture by Edelinck, is one of the most beautiful, and most sought after.
Height, 10 feet; breadth, 6 feet 2 inches.
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