La Castiglione. Pierre-Louis Pierson, 1863-1866.Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (1837–1899), better known as La Castiglione , was an Italian aristocrat who achieved notoriety as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France. The Countess was known for her beauty and her flamboyant entrances in elaborate dress at the imperial court.
Virginia Oldoini, Countess de Castiglione (1837-1899), better known as La Castiglione, was an Italian courtesan who achieved notoriety as a mistress of Emperor Napoleon III of France. She was also a significant figure in the early history of photography as a model and collaborator of photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson.
The Countess di Castiglione caused a scandal by appearing at a 1857 costume ball at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as The Queen of Hearts, a thinly veiled allusion to the fact the she was currently the mistress of the emperor, Napoleon III. She was photographed in the costume by Pierre-Louis Pierson several years later, between 1861 and 1863, apparently wishing to preserve the scandal for posterity.