Artist: James McNeill Whistler
Size: 11” x 8”
“Whistler began to explore the decorative possibilities of the full-length portrait, drawing on the tradition of sartorial splendor, which he saw in Van Dyck, Hollar and Valesquez. Whistler gave his subjects monumentality by selecting a low vantage point and emphasizing the richness of their costume, he preferred Finette, and “guarded his proofs with jealousy” the dark picture which dominates the space. The mask, which Whistler included in the prop-box to the right of Finette, may have been intended for use during the forthcoming carnival season; it recalls the facial masks worn with winter costumes in Hollar’s prints and the miscellaneous accoutrements found in British aristocratic portraiture. Despite their historical associations, Whistler’s portraits remain portraits of modern women in contemporary dress…”
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