The Cleveland Museum of Art's miniature does not reflect Le Normand's mythically monstrous appearance. She was in her early twenties when this miniature was painted. Perhaps the fortune teller chose François Dumont as the artist because he had recently produced several portraits of Marie-Antoinette, whom Le Normand admired greatly. Her dress and hairstyle here are reminiscent of the queen's in Dumont's 1792 portrait of her. A student of Jean Girardet, Dumont was one of the most exclusive French miniature painters of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and rendered many of the elite subjects of Le Normand's predictions; even if Dumont himself found no use for the prophetess's services, they certainly relied on similar clientele for their prosperity. The artist's inclusion of an owl eating a moth makes the CMA's miniature unusual. The owl often represents wisdom and was the companion of the ancient Greek goddess Athena. The ancient Romans were among many cultures to associate the nocturnal owl with the ability to predict death; even William Shakespeare called the bird of prey a "fatal bellman" in his play "Macbeth". These darker aspects of the owl make it an approp

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Portrait of Mademoiselle Marie-Anne Adelaide Le Normand, c. 1793

watercolor on ivory in a silver gilt mount, Framed: 8.40 x 6.90 cm (3 1/4 x 2 11/16 inches); Unframed: 7.30 x 5.80 cm (2 13/16 x 2 1/4 inches). Gift from J. H. Wade 1921.911

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