The story behind Madame du Barry

Johnny Depp marks his comeback in cinema with his role as King Louis XV. in the movie Jeanne du Barry. The film follows the title character du Barry, played by writer-director Maïwenn, as she climbs the social ladder of Paris from professional woman to royal mistress, arguably one of the most influential positions a woman could hold in France at the time.

reviews for Jeanne du Barry were mixed. The Independent called the film “surprisingly great” and “a subtle and well-crafted costume drama with plenty of satirical bite.” diversity characterizes the biopic as “awkward” and “unexpectedly tame,” but nonetheless says it “engages with the emotional core of a most unusual relationship, such that we grieve over how and why it eventually unravels.” Conversely, The Hollywood Reporter called the film “both flat and flat” and the BBC felt Depp’s performance was “so subdued that he was barely conscious”. It seems that the real Jeanne du Barry had a far more exciting life than Maïwenn’s film portrays.

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Jeanne du Barry’s early life

Jeanne du Barry controversy
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Marie Jeanne Bécu was born in Vaucouleurs, France, in 1743. The illegitimate daughter of seamstress Anne Bécu and an unknown man, young Jeanne’s fate did not indicate that she would one day have exclusive access to the king. At first she seemed destined for a life of struggle and poverty, but fate had other plans. A wealthy financier named Billard-Duouceaux took an interest in Anne and her daughter, employed the former as a cook in his household, and sent Jeanne to study at a local convent.

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At the age of 15, Jeanne left the convent, prompting Duouceaux to dismiss Anne. The two moved to Paris, where Jeanne found employment as a saleswoman in a Parisian fashion house. It was here that Jeanne met Jean Baptiste du Barry, a casino owner and high-profile pimp. Through du Barry, Jeanne regularly took on several wealthy and influential men as clients, including Duke Maréchal de Richelieu. In 1768, the Duke brought Jeanne to a party at Versailles, where her stunning beauty caught the attention of the aging and lonely King Louis XV. attracted.

Jeanne du Barry becomes a royal mistress

Jeanne du Barry - why you should be excited
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The Mrs. Ludwigs, by the way, the royal mistress, known as the momIt’s a title, is considered one of the most powerful positions a woman could hold in France. The tradition of momIt’s a title, Although this was not explicitly recognized in court, there were still rules, the most important of which was that the mistress had to possess a title.

Seeing an opportunity for mutual prosperity, du Barry proposed to Jeanne that he marry his titled but hopeless brother, Count Guillaume du Barry. The two married in 1769, after which the newly appointed Madame du Barry was officially able to become the most powerful woman in France at the age of only 26. Louis XV adored Jeanne, but not many members of the court. To the court of Versailles, Jeanne was a menace, a portent of the fall of a once great monarchy.

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Most notable among them was the sole Marie Antoinette. The future queen and many other members of the court found du Barry’s presence uncomfortable and often brought up the beloved’s humble origins. Louis XV however, was entranced: Nothing could come between him and du Barry. This is most evident in the case of the Duke de Choiseul, Secretary of State and one of du Barry’s harshest critics. Choiseul was friends with Jeanne’s predecessor, Madame Pompadour, and had hoped to transfer this position to his sister. After a series of failures during the Seven Years’ War, Louis dismissed Antoinette, a friend of Choiseul’s, angry that the “lower” mistress was victorious.

Although Jeanne was politically protected from Antoinette’s wrath, that would not last forever. In 1774 Louis XV died. of smallpox and Louis XVI. ascended the throne together with Marie Antoinette.

Madame du Barry after Louis XV

Madame du Barry
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Jeanne was immediately expelled from Versailles and sent to the Pont-aux-Dames convent in Meaux. Two years later, you Barry moved into the Louis XV. returned to the house she had been given, the Château de Louveciennes, where she spent her days as a frequent and popular patron of the arts.

Despite her mistreatment by many royals, du Barry remained a staunch royalist to the end. Several French émigrés to London relied on du Barry for financial support, which brought the former lover into the crosshairs of the revolutionaries. As punishment for counter-revolutionary activities, Jeanne du Barry was beheaded in the Place de la Revolution in December 1743, just two months after Marie Antoinette had suffered the same fate.

In films and on television, du Barry is often portrayed as the upstart that her enemies complained about – see her portrayal in Sofia Coppolas Marie Antoinette – but modern historians see them in a more differentiated way. Madame du Barry was both victim and beneficiary of circumstance: just as she was unlucky enough to be born into the misfortune of her class, so the privileges bestowed upon her later in life rested on the good fortune of her good looks and fortuitous social life Links. Du Barry wasn’t a feminist paragon: she was an incredibly beautiful woman who used her innate tools to climb the social ladder and find the comforts she felt she deserved.

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