Monday, June 19, 2017

Adornments Selected and Assembled for Personal Display

Anonymous Dutch painter
Lady at her dressing table with a maid 
ca. 1650-60
oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Art

William Merritt Chase
Portrait of Lydia Field Emmet
oil on canvas
Brooklyn Museum

Thomas Frye
Portrait of Mrs Wardle
oil on canvas
Yale Center for British Art


What slender youth, bedew'd with liquid odours,
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
     Pyrrha?  For whom bind'st thou
     In wreaths thy golden hair,

Plain in thy neatness?  O how oft shall he
On faith and changed gods complain, and seas
     Rough with black winds, and storms
     Unwonted shall admire!

Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who, always vacant, always amiable,
     Hopes thee, of flattering gales
     Unmindful!  Hapless they

To whom thou, untried, seemst fair.  Me in my vowed
Picture, the sacred wall declares to have hung
     My dank and dripping weeds
     To the stern god of sea.

 the ode Ad Pyrrham by Horace, as translated by John Milton (1608-1674)

Egon Schiele
Kneeling woman in orange-red dress
gouache drawing
Leopold Museum, Vienna

Robert Peake the Elder
Portrait of Frances, Lady Reynell, of West Ogwell, Devon
ca. 1595
oil on panel
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

Albert Bloch
The Green Domino
oil on canvas
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City

Jan Adam Kruseman
Portrait of a lady
oil on canvas
Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Simon Vouet
St Cecilia
ca. 1625-27
oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas

Anselm Feuerbach
Half-Length portrait of a Roman woman
ca. 1862-66
oil on canvas
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt


"The presence that thus so strangely rose beside the waters is expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years man had come to desire. Hers is the head upon which all 'the ends of the world are come,' and the eyelids are a little weary. It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions. Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed? All the thoughts and experiences of the world have etched and moulded there in that which they have of power to refine and make expressive the outward form, the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the reverie of the middle age with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan world, the sins of the Borgias. She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants; and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary; and all this has been to her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the delicacy with which it has moulded the changing lineaments and tinged the eyelids and hands."

 Walter Pater, from Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873)

Frederick Sandys
Grace Rose
oil on panel
Yale Center for British Art

Alexander Roslin
Portrait of Comtesse d'Egmont-Pignatelli in Spanish costume
oil on canvas
Minneapolis Institute of Art

Jean-Étienne Liotard
Portrait of Marie-Adelaide de France in Turkish dress
oil on canvas
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

John Hesselius
Portrait of Mrs Richard Brown
ca. 1760
oil on canvas
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Kristian Zahrtmann
Death of Queen Sophie Amalie
oil on canvas
Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen

Queen Katharine:

After my death, I wish no other Herald,
No other speaker of my living Actions,
To keepe mine Honor from Corruption,
But such an honest Chronicler as Griffith.
Whom I most hated Living, thou has made mee
With thy Religious Truth and Modestie,
(Now in his Ashes) Honor: Peace be with him.
Patience, be neere me still, and set me lower.
I have not long to trouble thee. Good Griffith,
Cause the Musitians play me that sad note
I named my Knell; whil'st I sit meditating
On that Celestiall Harmony I go to.
                                                             Sad and solemne Musicke

 from Act iv, Scene ii of King Henry the Eighth by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, first published in 1623