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Pants: Louis Raphael
Shoes: Weejuns by G.H. Bass & Co.
Shirt: Via Veneto
Pants: Jos. A. Bank
Shoes: Hush Puppies
Tie: Classics by Belk
Posted at 11:51 AM in Button-Down, Designer, Silk, Vintage | Permalink
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The Swagvation Army's Siding and Styling with Gainsborough: A Modern Take on Fashion and Color in Portraiture
As an avid absorber/observer of art (I am loathe to use a term like 'critic' or 'connoisseur' lest I lend some air of unqualified authority to my musings) I could not help but draw a number of aesthetic and ideological parallels between the SA’s Via Veneto post -- specifically, the first three photos of the series featuring the blue Structure shirt -- and the stylings of Thomas Gainsborough's famous 18th century portrait of The Blue Boy.
See link for image:
Two important facts about The Blue Boy's context and composition make for interesting comparative fodder. Firstly, the Blue Boy is dressed in a type of costume (known as cavalier dress, dating from about 140 years prior to the portraits creation) whose style pays homage to renowned Flemish painter Anthony Van Dyck. Gainsborough’s clothing selection is meant to guide our understanding of the work: the boy’s garb establishes and elevates the portrait to ‘high art’ status and serves as an index of artistic influence. Also worth noting is the anecdote about Gainsborough’s having painted The Blue Boy in response to his rival, head of the Royal Academy and master of Grand Manner Portraiture, Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds decreed that no artist could paint a well-balanced composition with a primary palette of cold or blue tones, lest the work fall prey to a problematic color scheme which would cause it to “be out of the power of art…to make the picture splendid and harmonious.”
(See http://theartdaily.blogspot.com/2010/04/thomas-gainsborough-blue-boy-c-1770.html for the full Reynolds quote.)
Clearly, Gainsborough rose to the challenge initiated by Reynolds in his selection of blue garb for the subject sitter. And if The Blue Boy is Gainsborough’s portrait-rebuttal to Reynolds, then the Via Veneto post is the SA’s unwitting (or maybe witting, I can’t speak to the photographer or Ernest’s thematic agenda) reference and reinforcement of Gainsborough’s aesthetic accomplishment. Interestingly, the photos above use nothing but cold tones of blue and green, and it is hard to not see in them the definitional trappings of post-Romantic British Grand Manner portraiture (centrally-positioned sitter, focused gaze with a solemn, self-possessed expression, neutrally charged nature-based backdrop with an inconspicuous light source) in a side by side comparison. And of course, like our Blue Boy’s outfitting, the clothes here are chosen to frame a particular story-telling scope and guide the viewer’s interpretation of mood and meaning in a way which becomes immediately apparent. Both sets of blue fashions eclipse their portrait subjects and in doing so become the portrait subject: the clothes are the expression of character and context for the wearer. The aesthetic, the narrative, and the ideas unfold in fabric.
Caroline Mansur |
03/02/2012 at 05:00 PM
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monster beats headphones |
04/16/2012 at 07:07 AM
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