The daughter of Vittorio Amedeo II, King of Sardinia, (1666-1732), Marie-Adélaïde di Savoia, Duchess of Burgundy, Dauphine of France, (1685-1712), moved to Versailles at the age of ten to marry Louis, Duke of Burgundy, (1682-1712). Following the death of her father-in-law in 1711 she became Dauphine of France for only a matter of months prior to her death in 1712. An outbreak of measles at the court of Versailles claimed the lives of Marie-Adélaïde, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, and their second son, Louis, Dauphin, (1707-1712). Their only surviving child became Louis XV, King of France, (1710-1774).
The full-length portrait of Marie-Adélaïde, by Jean-Baptiste Santerre, (1650-1717), hangs in the salle des gardes de la Reine, (no. 2117), at the Palace of Versailles, signed and dated 1709 (illustrated). As was common practice, the head and shoulders were painted separately and added at a later date allowing for greater attention to detail in the execution of the face and expression. This section was then sewn into the full scale work and the edges painted over to harmonize with the background.
Marie-Adélaïde is depicted in her royal robes embroidered with fleur-de-lys and trimmed with ermine. She is shown flanked by an attendant and cupid proffering a cornucopia of flowers, alluding to her beauty, with the gardens of Versailles beyond.
Santerre's composition for Marie-Adélaïde was deployed in the portrait by Pierre Gobert (1662-1744) of María Leszczynska, wife of Louis XV, King of France, (1710-1774), circa 1725. Perhaps Santerre's greatest legacy as a portraitist was to introduce a certain coquetry to his female sitters that pre-figured the work of artist Jean-Marc Nattier (1685-1766).
In 1712, Jean Baptiste Santerre received a pension from Louis XIV, King of France, (1638-1715), and a studio and lodgings in the Louvre. After the death of Louis XIV in 1715, he became Peintre Ordinaire to Philippe II, Duc d'Orleans, Regent of France, (1674-1723).