L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, May 26, 2017

"Circle of the duc d'Aumale" - perhaps

I found this group of images somewhere on the internet; I've long since forgotten where. Their clothing is datable to the 1850s and, possibly, the 1860s, so if they are indeed individuals attached to the family of the duc d'Aumale, it seems that these photographs would have to have been taken in England, as that is where the family had resided since the overthrow of the duc's father, Louis-Philippe, in 1848. When I found them, the images were attributed to Pierre-Louis Pierson. But I can't find any reference to the French photographer working in England during this period. And by the mid-1850s he was busy taking the portraits of members of the succeeding régime in France, that of Napoléon III, and had embarked on his forty year collaboration with the infamous comtesse de Castiglione.

Though I'm not at all convinced of the information that labeled the images of these otherwise unidentified figures, I think these photographs are very interesting - both for the sharp-focus, detailed illustration of the fashion of the day, and for the precise and particular characterization of their subjects - and certainly still worth sharing... whoever the people are, whoever it was who took their portraits.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Religious and historical flesh, allegorical flesh - a selection of paintings by Guido Cagnacci

Maddalena Svenuta (The Fainting Magdalene), 1663.

I made a post about this wonderful artist not too long ago having, at the time, just "discovered" him. Two David and Goliaths, two versions using the same pose and the same model. Here are further examples of his work. He certainly has a way with depicting flesh and, more specifically, he's a virtuoso of the breast...!

The Death of Cleopatra, 1658.
The Drunken Noah, circa 1650.
The Death of Cleopatra, circa 1645-55.
The Death of Lucretia, 1657.
Saint Jerome, circa 1659.
Allegory of Time (or of Life), circa 1650.
David With the Head of Goliath, circa 1650. (One of the two paintings I featured in the previous post; I find this version ravishing.)
The Death of Lucretia, circa 1657.
The Death of Lucretia, circa 1660.


The Penitent Magdalene, circa 1660-63. Certainly Cagnacci's masterpiece, I think this is quite a remarkable painting.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught - photographed by Lafayette, 18 December 1907

Princess Louise Margaret, Duchess of Connaught and Strathearn (born Luise Margarete Alexandra Viktoria Agnes; 25 July 1860, Potsdam – 14 March 1917, London), German princess, later a member of the British royal family as the wife of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

Then, as now, retouching of official images was almost de rigeur, and not always terribly subtle. Though the Duchess had a graceful enough
figure in reality, it's quite obvious that her waist and hips have been slimmed down, here - whittled away - to give her a narrower silhouette.

The fourth child and fourth daughter of a reportedly sadistic father, Prince Friedrich Karl of Prussia, she married Prince Arthur, the seventh child and third - and favorite - son of Queen Victoria, at St. George's Chapel Windsor. The Duchess of Connaught spent much of the first twenty years of her marriage accompanying her husband on his various deployments throughout the British empire. The couple also frequently represented Great Britain and the British royal family at important foreign events, including the coronation of Nicholas II in 1896. She accompanied her husband when her husband served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916.

The Duke and Duchess acquired Bagshot Park in Surrey as their country home in 1880, and after 1900 used Clarence House as their London residence. The couple had three children; their eldest, Margaret, married the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and, though she died young, the present King of Sweden and the Queens of Denmark and Greece are among her descendants.

As with all the later photographs of her sister-in-law, Queen Alexandra, the Duchess' face has also been heavily retouched.

For many years, her husband maintained a liaison with Leonie, Lady Leslie, sister of Jennie Churchill, though remaining devoted to his wife; it's believed that the Duchess was aware of the relationship and even approved of it. The Duchess of Connaught died of influenza and bronchitis at Clarence House at the age of fifty-six, in the midst of World War I. (She became the first member of the British royal family to be cremated; her ashes were eventually buried at the royal burial ground, Frogmore.) Her husband survived her by almost twenty-five years.