July 21, 2012

A Change in Fashions

George Romney, Mrs. Francis Russell.  1785-87, oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago.

“By the mid 1770s the vertical extension of feminine hairdressing was complete, transforming its original smooth bouffant appearance into a mass of frizzed and powdered curls beneath extravagant straw and ribbon hats by the 1780s.” –The Culture of Fashion.

Like Mrs. Russell's style? Check out the who wore it better post from earlier:
Who Wore it Better?   Frédérique Louise Wilhelmine and Mrs. Francis Russell

July 07, 2012

Notre Dame: 1793

Cathedral of Notre Dame, West façade; Gallery of Kings.

Head of a King, 13th c. BC,
original sculpture from
Gallery of the Kings of Judah,
Notre Dame, Paris. Musee de Cluny.
The French Revolution saw many acts of vandalism against age old buildings and artworks.  In 1793 a mob moved towards the Cathedral of Notre Dame.  The target was the Gallery of Kings, which displayed twenty-eight 13th century sculptures of the biblical Kings of Judah and Israel on the west façade. It is believed that the kings may have been misinterpreted as Kings of France by the mob.

Once they arrived, ladders were hoisted against the medieval wall. One by one nooses were thrown up around the statues' necks, and with a great force, they were pulled down.  Each fallen king was met with a roar and cheers from the crowd.

Moments after the sixty-foot plummet, the heads, the hands and the feet of each statue were removed.  The broken pieces were then thrown into the Seine.  In 1977 an excavation near by found some of the heads that were broken from the statues in 1793.  These pieces are on display at the Cluny Museum (Musée National du Moyen Âge, Museum of the Middle Ages) in Paris.