|Elizabeth I, Armada Portrait at Woburn Abbey|
This provided flexibility as one could choose to wear a bodice with or without sleeves but it was also responsible for the enormously time consuming task of getting dressed. Artists did not focus so much on the tailoring of the dress but on depicting the rich layers of decoration as they were more interested in getting a message across than in painting darts and pleats. A huge amount of money was spent on fabrics however, and artists were interested in getting as high as possible realism in their works, as the illusion of the materials will give the viewer the allusion of the sitter's position. So if a painter can paint silk or lace in such a way that it seems like we can almost touch it, it will give the contemporary viewer an instant sensation of the status of the sitter. The clothes of the sitter, after all, were often more expensive than the painting and can be compared to owning a Ferrari nowadays. It is something to show off, to cherish and it will send a message out about your financial (and therefore social) status in life.
|Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Margaret of Austria,|
Queen consort of Philip III of Spain, c. 1605. (detail)
|Hendrik Golzius, Portrait of Jan Goverts van der Aart, 1603|
Museum Boymans van Beuningen, Rotterdam
|Prince Frederick Henry, Flemish School, 1616.|
An apron and bib made from non-functional but
hugely expensive reticella lace.
|Recently re-dsicovered portrait of Lady Anne Clifford, by William Larkin|
1618. Weiss Gallery.
|Frans Hals, portrait of a woman, 1633|
National Gallery of Art Washington
|Anyonymous, Elizabeth Vernon, Countess of Southampton, |
circa 1600. Duke of Buccleach and Queensberry collection
|Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, woman in red|
1620. Tate Gallery
Aileen Ribeiro, Fashion and Fiction: Dress in Art and Literature in Stuart England, Yale University Press, 2005
Anna Reynolds, In Fine Style: the Art of the Tudors and Stuart Fashion, Royal Collection Trust, 2013
Hanneke Grootenboer, How to become a Picture: Theatricality as Strategy in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Portraits, in: Caroline van Eck, Stijn Bussels, Theatricality in Early Modern Art and Artchitecture, Wiley-Blackwell, 2011
Weiss Gallery, London, wikipedia, and various other online sources.