Thursday, December 26, 2013

At the vanity, 1700-1750

Madame has a number boxes and pots, one undoubtly for powder and one for jewelry. There is also a large brush behind the mirrror that looks like it is meant for clothes. It is worth noting that everything on the vanity is a matching set. Colour and shape suggest laquered goods from China. She seems to be in the process of applying rouge while listening to what the visiting priest is reading.
La toilette de Madame Geoffrin by Nicholas Lancret (1690-1743)

The lady above use her fingers for her rouge, but Madame de Pompadour use a small brush to apply hers. It might have been a matter for preference, but a rouge based on fat is easier to apply with the fingers and a dry one with a brush, so that might also be a reason. The powder puff with the small handle is meant to freshen up the powdered hair. An illustration plate from Encyclopédie Méthodique, Arts Mécaniques show a very similar puff.
Madame de Pompadour at Her Toilette by François Boucher, 1750's

Similar rouge box and brush.
Enamelled gold box for rouge and patches with brush by Joseph-Etienne Blerzy, 1780-1782
This unknown lady is in the process of applying her patches, the lid of her patch box showing a portrait of a man, probably her lover. One can suspect that the powder puff, which looks exactly the same as the one of the portrait of Madame de Pompadour, was one of Boucher's props.
A Lady Applying A Beauty Patch by Francois Boucher
It seems to have been quite popular to have been painted with a patch ready at a finger tip. More matching, probably laquered boxes. I wonder if it is the handle of a brush we are seeing.
Anne de La Grangem Trianon by François-Hubert Drouais, (1727-1775)
La Mouche, A Lady at Her Toilet by Louis Tocque

Beside the patch box there are also a jewelry box and a rouge brush on the vanity. And a cylindrical etui, which I am curious about. anyone who knows what it was used for? Needles perhaps, though it seems a bit too big for that.
Portrait of Marquise de Gast by Donatien Nonnotte, 1743
Despite being a charicature, the vanity table looks very much like they do on more serious pictures.
La Folie Pare La Decrepitude Des Ajustements De La Jeunesse by Charles-Antoine Coypel (1694-1752)
Many vanity tables on 18th century paintings seems to have been especially furnished for that purpose, with cloth fitted over them, but there are also paintings were the table have several purposes. There is also a charming drawing by Sergel, which I can't find online, of a lady getting her hair dressed by her maid in the kitchen, while food is being prepared in the background.
A Lady at Her toilet by Jean Raoux, 1727
Queen Caroline at Windsor at her dressing table with her two oldest children, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York:by Johann Zoffany
Circle of The Master of the Reflessi
François Hubert Drouais

 A lady in the process of powdering her hair
A Lady at her toilet table, dressed in a peignoir by an unknown artist, c. 1750
Not a vanity painting, but I include it because the little girl still have her curling paper in her hair, a nice peek into the process of dressing hair.
Madame Liotard and her Daughter by Jean-etienne Liotard (1702-1789)


Sunday, December 08, 2013

At the vanity, 1650-1700

There are significanly less goddesses who preen themselves in front of a mirror in the latter half of the 17th century, but a lot of Dutch middle class ladies, which is rather more interesting for this blog.
Not a very good copy, but she seems to be holding a small box and she is holding her hand in the same way ladies do on 18th century paintings when they are applying a beauty patch, so I believe this is what she is doing here as well. 
A lady at her toilet by Jan van Noodt, 17th century
Not much can bee seen on the table apart from the mirror and a round box, but it is interesting to see the hairstyle from the back.
Woman at A Mirrir by Gerard Terborch the younger, ca. 1650
Mirror, a large round boc, a smaller squarer one, a comb and a necklace, or possible just a piece of string. And a rather large brush, which function I wonder about. It is round and the handle is straight, which would probably make it difficult to use as a hair brush. A clothes brush, perhaps? Or possible used to brush white powder onto the skin, the lady is certainly pale enough. What do you think?  (Follow the link under the picture and you will be able to zoom in on it.)
A Young Woman at Her Toilet with a Maid by Gerard Terborch the younger, 1650-1651
I think the red pillowlike shape is a pin cushion. If that seems like a strange thing to have at the vanity, remember that it was very common to use pins to secure clothing. There is also a small brush. Another version of this painting can be seen here.
Lady at her toilet by Gerard Terborch the younger, 1657
Women at her toilet by Gabriel Metsu, ca.1658

Lady at her toilette by Gerard Terborch the younger, 1660
A young woman at her toilet by Gerard Dou, 1667
Portrait of a lady by Gabriel Metsu, 1667
The love letter by Jacob Ochtervelt, ca. 1670
Another of these brushes with a straight handle.
Woman at her toilette by Frans van Mieris, 1678
A gigantic comb and dito brush Or is it a very full pin cushion? 
Recueil des modes de la cour de France, 'Fille de Marchand, estant à Sa Toilette' by Nicoals Arnoult, 1687
A lot is going on here, boxes and bowls on the table as well as a pin cushion. Hot water is arriving and what is the maid with the bowl doing. She may be holding a wash cloth and holding a washing bowl, but my first thought was that she was applying white paint.
The Morning, Lady at her toilet, engraving, late 17th century
The evening routine seems much less ardous.
The Night, Lady going to bed, engraving, late 17th century

Late 17th century engraving
Is she holding a hair pin or is she in the process of painting her eyebrows?
Madama la Marquise Dangeau at her Toilet, engraving, 1694

Portrait of a woman by Nicolas de Largillière, 1696

La toilette, Turkish school, around 1700
This really belong to the previous post as it is from the 1630's, but I only found it today and I had to include it, as this is a rare depiction of a man making himself pretty. Notice that he is fixing his love lock. 
A Cavalier at His Dressing Table by Adriaen van de Venne, 1631

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

Sunday, November 24, 2013

At the vanity in the 16th century

Women in the act of making themselves beautiful in front of a mirror has always been a popular on paintings. For the person hunting for clues on beauty aids and cometics, they can give some valuable clues. Even if the painting is allegorcial, the beauty ideal depicted is contemporary and one can get glimpses of details like bath tubs and mirrors. Though makeup were in use in the 16th century, the paintings omits that in favour of jewelry and an occasional comb.

Venus at her toilet, School of Fonteinbleu, ca. 1550

Royal mistresses were often portrayed naked or semi-naked in front of the mirror or in the bath. Here are three portraits that possibly depict Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II of France (they are all painted when she was an old woman or after her death). Here she in the process of putting on a ring and there is an open jewelry box in front of her. There is also a double-sided comb.
Diane de Poitiers, master of the Fontainebleau School, ca. 1590

Woman at her toilette, School of Fonteinbleu, 1550-1570
A lady in her bath by François Clouet, 1571
Gabrielle d'Estrées was the mistress of Henry IV of France. She is holding a ring, presumably the king's coronation ring, which she was given as a love token.
Gabrielle d'Estrées and one of her sisters, School of Fontainebleau, ca. 1592

The Queen of Navarre, however, is, if not fully clad, at least fully covered in her shift.
Marguerite d'Angoulème by an unknown artist, ca. 1530
No jewelry here, but a bowl that may be for washing, or possibly some kind of makeup.

Woman at her toilette, from a fresco by Alessandro Allori, ca. 1580
The Countess is combing herself, on the table there is an open jewelry box, but its content is spread out in front of it.
Elizabeth Vernon, Countess of Southampton by an unknown artist, ca. 1590
In the 17th century the motif of a woman making herself pretty became much more common. Next at the vanity post will cover 1600-1650.