Tag: portrait

1747 – Arthur Devis, Mr. and Mrs. Bull

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.

1888 – William Merritt Chase, Lady in Black

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.

1884 – John Singer Sargent, Madame X (Virginie Gautreau)

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.

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