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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Randomly III

James, Duke of York, later King James II, in the guise of a Roman general, by Henri Gascar, circa 1673.
Unknown, no date.
"Miss Beaton" (probably Barbara "Baba" Beaton, sister of Cecil Beaton), by George Spencer Watson, circa 1933 or 1934.
"Le Petit Chaperon Rouge" (Little Red Riding Hood), by Fleury François Richard, circa 1820.
Comte Christophe Urbanowski, by Anton Graff, 1791.
Jeanette MacDonald in "The Love Parade", photographer unknown, 1929.
"Portrait d'une élégante dame", by Nicolas de Largillière, circa 1700.
"Portrait d’un jeune homme", by Joseph Deranton, circa 1790.
 Advertising for Zotos Welding Gel (?), photographer unknown, 1988.
"A Testing Question", by Frederick Morgan, 1892. Interestingly, the mother's gown and coiffure are in the style of the early 1870s.
Augusta of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Princess of Wales, the mother of King George III, studio of Allan Ramsay, circa 1760-68.
Interior, by Fyodor Petrovich Tolstoy, circa 1830s.
Princess Charlotte Bonaparte, by Jean-Pierre Granger, 1808. She was the daughter of Napoléon's brother Joseph.
George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, in the North Gallery at Petworth, by Thomas Phillips, 1839.
Unknown, no date.
Alice Crawford in the role of Olivia in "Twelfth Night", by William Logsdail, 1907.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Robert Taylor - a bath and a bathe, 1937

Personal Property - screen shots

A Yank at Oxford - candid/publicity shots

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Signore di seta - portraits by Vittorio Matteo Corcos

Contessa Carolina Sommaruga Maraini, 1901.

Vittorio Matteo Corcos (4 October 1859, Livorno – 8 November 1933, Florence), Italian painter, best known for his genre scenes, most often featuring winsome and well-dressed - and frequently partially un-dressed - young women. All pretty and insipid. His other major endeavor, portraits of lavishly gowned ladies, minor nobility to crowned head, show the same saccharine tendencies, but his painterly style was well-suited to his subject's modishness and station. And with the precision of his likenesses, the often very particular pose and expression, quite a lot of the subject's personality finds its way through the satiny gloss.

Contessa Nerina Pisani Volpi di Misurata, 1906.
Anita Vollert de’ Ghislanzoni and Maddalena Parodi Vollert, 1912.
Anna Maria Borghese, circa 1885.
Lina Cavalieri, 1903.
Study for portrait of Empress Auguste Viktoria of Germany, 1905.
Yole Biaggini Moschini, 1904.
Marie José, Principessa di Piemonte, Crown Princess, later - very briefly - Queen of Italy, 1931.
Queen Amélie of Portugal, 1905.
Yole Biaggini Moschini, 1901. (Not terribly "silken", but a brilliant portrait.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lina Cavalieri in costume for the title role of Massenet's "Manon", photographs by Reutlinger, circa 1903

Cavalieri was famously brunette, but here wears a wig, giving the appearance of eighteenth-century powdered hair.

Natalina "Lina" Cavalieri (25 December 1874, Viterbo – 7 February 1944, Firenze), Italian opera singer and actress, always known as much for her great physical beauty as for her voice and acting ability; she was called opera's most beautiful soprano, even “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World”.

Orphaned at fifteen, she was made a ward of the state and sent to an orphanage. But she soon fled the nuns and joined a traveling theatrical troupe. (The early story varies.) Before long she turned up in Paris, where her beautiful face and figure brought her most welcome attention and where she found work singing at one of the city's café-concerts; she was an overnight sensation. From there she performed in music halls and similar venues throughout Europe, particularly in Paris and St. Petersburg, all the while continually working to develop her voice. She wed the Russian Prince Alexandre Bariatinsky who paid for lessons with the greatest teachers, and with whom she had a son. She made her opera debut in Lisbon in 1900; it was not a success.

The tiara may be a costume piece, but the necklace and earrings are almost certainly the real thing; divas of the age
usually wore their own - often spectacular - jewelry on stage, a fact that was much publicized and commented on.

The Prince chose this moment to divorce her. But she persevered and was soon to be found singing the great soprano roles at the world's finest opera houses, even premiering works by Massenet and Puccini. She spent two seasons - 1906 and 1907 - at the Metropolitan Opera, performing with the likes of Caruso. She was a great celebrity, lavishly paid, famously bejeweled, her appearances on stage most notable for how she looked, what she wore and how she wore it.

Again in New York in 1910, she married a member of the Astor family, but they were already separated by the end of their honeymoon after it became known that her husband had signed over his entire fortune to her. After her second divorce, she was again much in St. Petersburg. But she retired not long after and, by the beginning of World War I, she had become known as a published expert on beauty, had opened her own beauty salons in France, and created her own cosmetic lines and perfumes; her business continued successfully well into the Twenties.

Still strikingly beautiful, she'd also begun to make films in her native Italy. After that country entered the war, she went to the United States and made a handful more. All told she made about eight or nine films, several of which are now considered lost. Before her retirement she'd married her third husband, a French tenor; they divorced in 1927. With her fourth husband, an Italian wine merchant, she returned to Italy, living in a villa outside of Florence. She published her autobiography in 1936. In 1944 an Allied bombing raid destroyed her home. Hearing the American bomber approach, Cavalieri, her husband, and servants ran for the air-raid shelter on the grounds of the estate but, as newspapers later recorded, she decided to run back to the house to gather up her very valuable jewellery. The servants inside the shelter all survived but Cavalieri and her husband were killed; she was buried under the rubble of her own home.

(With a poignant irony, the eponymous heroine of "Manon Lescaut" - Puccini's Manon; Massenet's plot differs slightly - is arrested and seals her fate because, pursued by soldiers, she lingers too long collecting her jewels.)


I'm not entirely certain these portraits were taken as Massenet's Manon, because she also sang the role of Puccini's flighty and tragic heroine; she gave the American debut of "Manon Lescaut" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, with Caruso as Des Grieux, and with the composer in attendance. In this last image she's wearing a similar but different costume than that above; is this a different Manon, or just another dress?