The Genoese Noblewoman (1625-1627) painted by Anthony Van Dyck reflects dress trends of the early 17th century, particularly in the region of Genoa, such as rich silks ornamented with metallic lace, starched ruffs and the deep “V” shaped bodice.
Deciphering Jan Jansz Mostaert’s Portrait of an African Man reveals the presence of Black bodies within European court circles and hints at their position within them.
Arthur Devis’s 1747 portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Bull seems to depict a quite fashionable couple in the year of their marriage in what we presume to be their home. But closer analysis reveals that much of the work is likely a fiction, though the clothes they’re sporting–whether their own or imagined–remain fashionable.
Joseph Siffred Duplessis’s 1778 portrait of Benjamin Franklin participates in his carefully constructed image while in France as a plainly dressed American with provincial taste–though he actually dressed in the most expensive fabrics available.
William Merritt Chase captures the style and youth of his art student, Mariette Benedict Cotton, in this portrait. She wears a black day dress made in the traditional bustle silhouette of the period with puffed sleeves that were rising in popularity at the time. Chase’s use of light adds depth to the piece, emphasizing folds in the fabric and the glittering of Cotton’s eyes and jewelry.
Faustina appears to be the ideal woman of 1899 as her dress includes all of the most fashionable evening wear details, like short puffed sleeves, lace details, and a curvaceous silhouette. She embodies beauty and grace as the artist captures her during a private moment of reflection in her extravagant home.
Pompeo Batoni became the premiere portraitist for 18th-century English, Irish and Scottish gentlemen during their visit to Rome on the Grand Tour, as seen in this portrait of an unknown young man.
A highly successful artist in Amsterdam, Ferdinand Bol, much like Rembrandt, became known for the detailed characterization of his sitters–in particular his portraits of women. As is typical of a betrothal portraits, this image displays the sitter’s wealth through her lavish textiles and jewelry.
William Hogarth, though known for satire, was often commissioned for portraits and conversation pieces. The Wedding of Stephen Beckingham and Mary Cox was one of his larger portraits, featuring an intimate wedding and contemporary clothing of the time.
King Charles I, in a 1629 portrait by Daniel Mijtens, exemplifies 1620-30s fashions with his paned doublet, full breeches, and gloves with gauntlets made from the finest materials.
Isabella of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundy, painted by Rogier van der Weyden in 1450, is depicted wearing the latest styles of the Burgundian nobility.
In Sargent’s most famous portrait, Virginie Gautreau, a celebrated American beauty living in Paris, dresses in daring advance of fashion–the unadorned simplicity of the dress makes it appear modern even today. Her apparent lack of underwear and daringly dropped shoulder strap (later repainted by Sargent) in combination with her heavy makeup and seeming indifference to the viewer provoked scandal when the work was first exhibited in the 1884 Paris Salon.