Wednesday, November 27, 2013

At the vanity, 1600-1650

In the 17th century the vanity tables gets gradually more filled up. Also, more paintings depict scenes that are just ordinary women doing their beauty routine and not godesses. Of course, allergorical paintings have always been a great excuse for painting naked ladies, so they aren't completely let off..

The Toilet of Venus by Peter Paul Rubens, 1613

Or nearly naked ones.
Vanity by Francesco Furini
Ribbons and feathers and flowers, but the ladies attending the old woman seems more made up than she is. The bared breast can probably be seen as another attempt to mimic youth.
Vain Old Woman by Bernardo Strozzi, ca. 1625.

A painting stuffed with symbolism, for example the skull the girl is resting her feet on for mortality and the monkey for vanity, the lady herself looks quite ordinary, if pretty. She has sensibly covered her clothes with a peignoir and the chaotic table with ribbons and boxes looks like it has been painted from life as well.

Allegory of Vanity by Jan Miense Molenaer, 1633
 Similar, but without the allegory. Jewelry, feathers and some intriguing boxes and bottles.
Lady At Her Toilette, Utrecht School
 Another peignoir that seems a lot less sensible.
Woman at her toilet, French school, early 17th century

Undated, but the hairstyles suggest the early 17th century. The lady is very pale and a habit of painting herself with Ceruse doesn't seem far-fetched.
Vanity- A Woman With A Mirror, Prague School, 17th century
Young Woman At Her Toilet by Rembrandt van Rijn
Lady at Her Toilette by Jacob Duck

Woman at her Toilet with Servant, from La Vue (sight), ca. 1635


  1. Hello. Interesting review of the paintings. Vanity is a thought process that is hard to ignore when human culture sets standards of beauty and youth that really puts it out of reach for most everyone but for centuries we kept trying. I love the allegorical paintings. And yes that sheer. lace boudoir capelet seems a bit ridiculous but I would assume that being 'rich' it was a symbol of that wealth to wear a delicate expensive item to put on make-up and do one's hair which would most certainly spoil it. Thanks Isis!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I find it facinating myself. :)


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.