In the first paragraph, the characterization of Elizabeth’s father suggests that he:
A prolific portrait artist of the Revolutionary and the Restoration eras in France, Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun serves as an example not only of a talented artist, but of an early feminist as well. Born in a middle-class family in 1756, young Elizabeth displayed artistic ambition and talent from an early age, often being punished for drawing on the walls of her boarding school. Her father, showing a surprisingly progressive stance, declared that Elizabeth had the makings of an artist, and arranged for his daughter to study at the feet of some of the day’s greatest masters.
After her father’s untimely death, Elizabeth helped to support her family by painting portraits of members of the French court. Word of her abilities spread among her aristocratic clientele, and by her late teens Elizabeth was consorting with Queen Marie Antoinette both socially and professionally. She became not only the queen’s confidante, but also the official portraitist to the Royal family at Versailles. It was in part due to this association that Elizabeth was forced to flee France in the early days of the revolution; showing uncommon prescience, the artist realized that her royalist leanings could easily cost the lives of her young daughter and herself were she to stay in Paris.
Upon leaving France, Elizabeth settled briefly in Italy, in the midst of what might nowadays be seen as a French refugee community, and then moved around the continent. She even ventured to Moscow and St. Petersburg, completing a famous portrait of Catherine the Great. During the Bourbon Restoration, she returned to France, where she continued her wildly successful portrait career, earning uncommon fame and wealth in her role as a career woman.
Though her career was defined by meteoric success, Elizabeth’s family life was fraught with complication. Her marriage was unhappy, resulting in early separation from her husband (though they later reconciled), and her relationship with her daughter was always strained; indeed, upon her daughter’s decision to marry a man Elizabeth did not approve of, the artist remarks that her daughter’s choice was a result of being allowed by the governess to read too many novels. All in all, Elizabeth could be seen in the same light as many modern celebrities: wildly successful professionally, but arguably at a cost to her personal life.