Fashion in European Art

Fashion in European Art: Dress and Identity, Politics and the Body, 1775-1925 (Dress Cultures)

Fashion reveals not only who we are, but whom we aspire to be. From 1775 to 1925, artists were especially attuned to the gaps between appearance and reality, participating in and often critiquing the construction of the self and image. Their representations of modern life must be read with an eye to fashion and dress as to do otherwise omits a whole world of complex calculations and subtle signals. Artists did not merely record the fashions around them, but in their two- dimensional renderings of dress, posture, and pose also shaped contemporary ideals and self- fashioning in the real world. Each chapter in this volume explores the ramifications of these choices in case studies centred on crucial historical, cultural, and political moments. Contributors examine not only dress and the art object – their production and reception – but also the larger visual and material culture within which they were embedded. By unpacking the significance of historical dress, as well as the lived experience of dress and its representation, the essays consider how artists and sitters engaged with the fashion and culture of their times. They all view artworks as socially mediated cultural artefacts that illuminate the varied and complex meanings of dress in art and life during the long nineteenth century, with serious implications for our understanding of dress cultures today.

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