Madame X



Madame X

With excited heart she opened the box,
Exposing the long fine black silken dress.
Whence the gift did come showed no sign of shocks,
The lady’s admirer needed no guess.

It’s noon, Monsieur Sargent should soon arrive.
Smirk did she. This dress will turn countless head,
With noses held high they’ll look for my shrive.
No yield. Be assured the next gown they’ll dread.

She slipped into the gown with confidence,
Not that the gown would fit but in herself.
Her thought should not come with a consequent,
M’dame Gautreau was no trophy for a shelf.

Her admirer knew her for what she was.
She was driven, but accepted her flaws.


As we can see by the poem the painter of Madame X was John Singer Sargent and the model was  Madame Pierre (Virginie) Gautreau.  During the period that the painting was done was a period of transition.  The feeling that I add is that Virginie was a free thinking woman who did not  relate well to the French bourgeoisie.  It has been rumored that Virginie had a lover.  However,  I have not made mention in the poem instead I include a gift from an admirer as a grenade for a point of change that was coming about in a more open society.  Women continued to be trophy brides but less so.  In the movie How He Fell In Love the husband of the woman have an affair was more concerned with his social standing than the cause of his wife’s infidelity. His trophy was tarnished.  I think Virginie was leading the first WYSIWYG movement

The following link will give you a lucid explanation of what was going on during the period as it relates to the Madame X painting.

Info on Madame X painting




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