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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Abiti in bianco e nero - two Italian boys of the Renaissance

Portrait of the marchese Massimiliano Stampa, by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1557.
Portrait of a Boy of the Bracciforte Family of Piacenza, attributed to Girolamo Mazzola Bedoli (formerly to Niccolò dell’Abate), circa 1560.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hungarian with a Spanish accent - de László and the mantilla

Victoria Eugenia, Queen of Spain, 1927.

A very small sub-category of de László's prodigious output are portraits of ladies in Spanish mantillas. Here are most if not all of them:

Victoria Eugenia, Queen of Spain, 1927. Study for the above painting.
Madame Olga Edwards, née Olga Budge Zañartu, 1920.
The Black Mantilla, 1929.
The marquesa de Valparaíso y del Mérito, née Elena Patiño Rodríguez, 1930.
 Mrs. John Walter, née Phyllis Charlotte Hilda Foster, 1924.
 Mrs. John Walter, 1924.
Spanish Dancers, 1927.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Louis III de Bourbon-Condé, duc de Bourbon, duc de Montmorency, duc d'Enghien, 6th prince de Condé, comte de Sancerre, comte de Charolais, seigneur de Chantilly, Prince du sang - unknown artist, circa 1690

Louis de Bourbon (10 November 1668, Paris - 4 March 1710, Versailles), French "Prince of the Blood" and member of the reigning House of Bourbon at the court of Louis XIV. His parents were Henri Jules de Bourbon, duc d'Enghien, and Anne Henriette of Bavaria; he was thus the grandson of le Grand Condé. One of ten children, he was his parents' only surviving son and styled as the duc de Bourbon from birth. He succeeded his father as prince de Condé, only a year before his own death.

In 1685 at the age of seventeen, he was married to Louise Françoise de Bourbon - known at court as mademoiselle de Nantes - the eldest legitimized daughter of Louis XIV and the king's mistress, Madame de Montespan. Many at court were shocked by the proposed union of a full-blooded prince du sang and a royal bastard and, indeed, by the king's ongoing programme of engineering prestigious marriages for his extra-marital offspring. But the head of the House of Condé, le Grand Condé, agreed to the shockingly unequal match in the hope of gaining favor with the bride's father.

Made a chevalier du Saint-Esprit in 1686, a colonel of the Bourbon-Infanterie Regiment later that same year, a maréchal de camp in 1690, and a lieutenant general in 1692, Monsieur le Duc, as he was called at court, and his wife had nine children, all of whom lived well into adulthood. This was rather unusual for the time, and all the more so since their father was never anything like a fine specimen of health or good breeding. Macrocephalic, while not quite a dwarf, he was extremely short, and had a complexion with a markedly yellowish-orange cast to it. Of his parent's ten children, only he and four of his sisters had survived past the age of five, and his sisters were so petite that they were referred to at court as poupées du sang "dolls of the Blood" or, less kindly, as "the little black beetles" because, in addition to their lack of stature, some of them were dark of complexion and/or bent.

Their father, also quite short and considered "repulsive" in appearance had been, in addition, mentally unstable throughout most of his life. Violent, he had frequently beaten his good-natured, sympathetic wife and terrorized his children. It is said that his son and heir also suffered from mental illness toward the end of his life. He died at the age of forty-one, only eleven months after his father, following an attack of apoplexy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Miss Gardner

It's not like I ever found her all that compelling as an actress or even what you might call just a beautiful "screen presence", but looking at Ava Gardner - at any age - always makes me feel rather shockingly heterosexual, if you catch my meaning. There was something more to her allure, though, than just an exquisite, sensual face and form. There was that thing about her that some woman have: she seemed both tough - emotionally and physically strong, resilient - and yet, when it suited her, vulnerable, yielding. But always on her terms. Earth mother, lazy witch; she seemed to know something that others don't. I also think she'd have been a great dame to sit with and talk to, world-weary and comfortable. Someone to tell you wry stories. To share a cocktail or three, a cigarette and laughter.


After a previous post about Ava Gardner, celebrating her beauty in her later years, a kind blog visitor left this lovely, touching memory of her encounter with Miss Gardner:

"I was living in London during the mid '80s , studying at the Royal School of Needle Work on Hyde park, often having my lunch sitting on a bench there. One day a small dog decided I was its long lost best friend and started jumping all over me. The apologetic owner sat with me, asked if I minded if she lit up a cigarette and we laughed about the dog, Londoners, the weather, the latest politicians scandal etc. I felt sure we had met before and it was a good ten minutes before I realized it was Ava Gardner I was sitting with. She was perfectly lovely, aged and a little fragile but just as riveting as in her Hollywood heyday and so natural and down to earth. Sadly I never did see her in the park again, I learned sometime later that she had had several strokes around that time, perhaps that day was one of the last time she ever took her little dog for a walk in the park." 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Les dames en vert

Portrait of a Lady, by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, circa 1900-10.

So far I've put together several posts comprised of images of women dressed in the same featured color; all red, yellow, pink, etc. At the special request of a friend - she literally begged me to do it, I must say - I've now collected a great big bunch of ladies - too many? - all arrayed in various gorgeous shades of green.

Juliane, Fürstin zu Schaumburg-Lippe, by Johann Heinrich Tischbein the Elder, 1781.
Portrait of Lavinia (the artist's daughter), by Titian, 1560.
Figura femenina en verde, by José María Rodríguez Acosta, 1933.
Women in Green Dress - a member of the Beauvais-Decuir family,
by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans, circa 1840s.
A Blonde Woman, by Jacopo Vecchio, 1520.
Portrait of a Lady in Green, by William Bruce Ellis Ranken, 1928.
Woman in Green Dress (Camille, the artist's wife), by Claude Monet, 1866.
Portrait of Laura Gonzaga in Green, by Lavinia Fontana, circa 1580s.
Olga Charlotte, Gräfin zu Solms-Teckelburg, by Eduard Robert Bary, circa 1860.
The Florentine Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, by Józef Mehoffer, 1900.
Portrait of a British cavalry officer’s wife, by Giuseppe Bezzuoli, 1826.
Mrs. Florence Humphris, by Henry Scott Tuke, 1892.
The marquise de Pompadour, by François Boucher, circa 1750s.
Reflection, by Jerry Barrett, 1865.
Juliet, daughter of Richard H. Fox of Surrey, by Alfred Lambart, 1931.
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May, by John William Waterhouse, 1908.
Doña Teresa Sureda, by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, circa 1803-4.
Portrait of an Unknown Lady Wearing a Pale Green Dress With Dark Green Wrap, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, circa 1700.
Portrait of a Lady with Pet Squirrel (possibly the poetess Maddalena Salvetti), by Bartolommeo Traballesi, circa 1570-85.
Portrait of Sylvia, daughter of the artist, by Frank Salisbury, 1929.
Woman in an Interior, by Lars Jorde, 1902.
Enid, Lady Layard, by Vicente Palmaroli y González, 1870. (The necklace, earrings, and bracelet were wedding presents from her
husband, archaeologist and politician Sir Austen Henry Layard, and were set with ancient Mesopotamian chalcedony seals.)
Aïcha, by Félix Vallotton, 1922.
Portrait of a Lady in Green, by Bronzino, circa 1528-32.
Mathilde Cobos, by Zacarias González Velázquez, 1832.
Rachel Russell, by Sir Edwin Landseer, 1835.
The Green Gown, by Thomas Edwin Mostyn, 1925 (?).
La Ghirlandata, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1871-1874.
La Curiosa (or Curiosità), by Silvestro Lega, 1866.
Desdemona, by Frederic Lord Leighton, 1888.
Mrs. Ernest Guinness, by Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, 1912.
Portrait of a Lady, by Titian, circa 1555.
Sonja in Green, by Sir James Gunn, 1932.