Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful and fascinating personalities of feudal Europe. At age 15 she married Louis VII, King of France, bringing into the union her vast possessions from the River Loire to the Pyrenees. Only a few years later, at age 19, she knelt in the cathedral of Vézelay before the celebrated Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux offering him thousands of her vassals for the Second Crusade. It was said that Queen Eleanor appeared at Vézelay dressed like an Amazon galloping through the crowds on a white horse, urging them to join the crusades.
Berthe Morisot Painting (1865). Edma Morisot (French, 1839-1921).
Morisot painted this portrait of her younger sister when Berthe was 24. Berthe had just had her first public success as an artist the year previously, when two of her pieces were accepted into the annual Salon de Paris. The sisters were raised in a cultured and prosperous French family and at that time painting was one of the accomplishments deemed necessary to the complete education of a young lady.