Fragonard, The Goddess Minerva. c. 1772.The Detroit Institute of Arts.
Here I shall supply the art, and YOU supply the stories!
Today I wanted to share the mythological and fictional figures that Fragonard painted. I am not going to give the background story to the figures here, but you can leave the story in the comment section. Let me know what you think of his treatment of the figures!
Fragonard, Procris and Cephalos. Musée des beaux-arts.
The 17th and 18th century saw a rise in the popularity of painting mythological and popular figures. They could be read into and represent the fate of man or even man himself. Louis XIV was known to liken himself with Apollo, hence the sun king was as grand as the sun god.
Fragonard, Psyche Showing her Sisters her Gifts from Cupid. 1753. National Gallery, London.
Artists also had no problem depicting these figures in a most sensual and idyllic way. The result is a pleasing combination of fantastic story and soft alluring imagery.
Fragonard, Grand Priest Coresus Sacrifices Himself to save Callirhoe. c. 1765. Louvre.
Let's discuss panniers, aka false hips! In the first part of the century women were still wearing their panniers in a pyramidal or cone shaped fashion. The cone morphed into a bigger, full dome shape, and in 1711, as one male observer noted in The Spectator, "The hooped petticoat is made to keep us at a distance."
This style soon changed into a more defined cascade, where the hooped petticoat extended from the hips allowing fabric to fall down at the sides. The front and back became flat, rather than a general dome shape. The silhouette was dramatic and the waist looked tiny. In 1739 you could find panniers reaching 2 3/4 yards in circumference (over 7 ft around!)
Passing through a doorway was not an easy task when donning an enormous hooped petticoat. Ladies would sometimes do an elegant turn to the left or right to glide through gracefully. Another option was to press down on the hoop and make it collapse enough to get through. But double doors were a welcomed architectural feature, making passing through easy and proper.
Another feature that was sometimes used to make life a bit easier for ladies of fashion, were curved banisters along walk and stairways. The slight C curve of spindles allowed ladies to reach the railing better, allowing more room for billowy skirts!
In the spirit of birthdays and gift-giving, one commenter on this post will win a cute handmade Marie Antoinette Bookmark from the lovely Etsy shop, Joli Papier
"Beautiful Marie Antoinette bookmark. I've digitally collaged an image of Marie on a lacey background, added a few flourishes and some pink roses. Bookmark measures 2 1/4" by 6 3/4"."
Everyone is eligible!
**Thank you for entering This give away has ended but look out for more giveaways soon!** I also wanted to say thanks for all the spirited entries! I can't tell you how many times these comments make me laugh out loud in the most inappropriate places, such as...incredibly quiet libraries! Oh the shame.....