November 23, 2011

America, Asia and Europe represented by ladies

Amerique (dressed print). French late 17th Century, Paper; engraved; hand-colored; with fabric added; mounted on wood.  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Very cool historic artworks of continents, personified!

The lady in this image is seated outdoors and represents America. She wears an exquisite costume and holds a parrot.  Her gown is blue, turquoise and brown, lined with colorful feathers (turkey feathers??) Her headdress mimics later poufs that Europe would see, but here it is entirely of feathers built up high.  She holds a bow in her left hand and has a pack of quivers on her back. 


Asie (dressed print). French, Late 17th century.  Paper, fabric, wood; engraved; hand-colored; with fabric added; mounted on wood. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Asia is depicted on a plush green sofa with a very elaborate headdress.  She wears a cloak over her gown and you can just barely see pointed shoes peek out from her skirts.  The lady does not have a weapon as in the image of America but she does have a ride waiting for her, a saddled elephant!


Europe (dressed print). French, Late 17th century. Paper, fabric, wood; engraved; hand-colored; with fabric added; mounted on wood. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Finally Europe is shown, the lady again seated outdoors, in a country landscape.  Europe has many more attributes than Asia or America, perhaps alluding to superiority in known history (for the artist).  She has a globe by her feet, and a rifle in her hand.  Music and the arts are represented by the objects laying on the ground in front of her, and her ride: a beautiful white horse.  She wears a regal gown lined with ermine fur, and her hair is perfectly arranged and curled.  Finally a large stone castle stands in the background of this portrait, as only trees did in the others.



  1. Amazing! Thank you for this wonderful post :)

  2. What a fascinating selection! Your comments on them are also very instructive. The pictures elicit such opposing reactions--admiration for their sheer beauty and skepticism over their Eurocentric portrayals. Thanks for offering this interesting mini-exhibit.

  3. @Anonymous Glad you liked it!

    @Lucy Pollard-Gott You are most welcome! I love these images, they are so interesting and lovely. Lot's of little clues to hunt around for within them too!

  4. Beautiful post! For some reason I've always thought of mixed-media art as very modern. I love the drawings with fabric added; I might make something like this at home :)

  5. @Keri@AmazingWomenInHistory.com I know, it makes them really stand out! If your work is 18th cent. inspired by these let me know, I would love to post it
    Happy holidays!