Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Depiction of Fabric in Paintings

I have come to realize that most of my all time favorite paintings in the whole world (that I have laid my eyes upon thus far)...brilliantly depict fabric in the clothing of the subjects. One such painting I discovered a couple of years ago at the Worcester Art Museum. It is in their permanent collection and quite wonderful. I have never seen such an effective portrayal of transparent lace before this picture. It looks like real lace and you can see through it as you could if you were there. Not to mention the great detail in her dressing table accessories. Woman at Her Toilette by Francois Clouet Woman at Her Toilette by Francois Clouet

At some point in high school I believe, I stumbled across Flaming June, as large as life on an out of the way wall in a museum whose name and location slip my mind. I don't know if it was an original or a print as I cannot seem to find any mention of whether this painting and I could possibly have been in the same museum at the same time in the last 5-10 years. Does anyone know how to look up the record of where paintings have been shown?

I love Flaming June because the artist captures the clingy, gauzy semi-transparent nature of her gown. He also expertly shows the natural drape of the fabric, how it pulls some at her right knee, and how it falls vertically from her extended left foot. Genius!
Flaming June by Frederick Lord Leighton Flaming June by Frederick Lord Leighton

And finally I leave you with Julia, Lady Peel who I met at The Frick Collection in New York City (NYC) about a year ago while at the United Nations. The Frick Collection is a private collection in the exquisitely decorated home of the late Henry Clay Frick, a steel magnate, right next to Central Park. This collection houses numerous examples of my favorite paintings that are my favorites simply because of how the fabric is depicted. I highly suggest you visit The Frick Collection next time you are in NYC.

I have limited myself to sharing with you only Julia, Lady Peel as she is one of the finest examples of the amazing collection of paintings in The Frick Collection, and this way I won't go on for days about paintings I love. Maybe I will revisit this topic in the future with a different collection of paintings; small doses makes it easier to digest.

The color combinations in this painting are so eye catching (just had to put that out there). The artist really has made it easy for the viewer to distinguish one texture from another. You clearly see that the crimson plumes coming off the hat are light and feathery. You see that the white fur stole is just that, fur. And you see that her sleeves are sleek satin. Not to mention the detail in her jewelry! Love it!

Julia, Lady Peel by Sir Thomas Lawrence

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