This seminar will investigate the themes of costume and fashion in visual art of late Victorian England and of Paris during the age of realism and impressionism. The two major case studies will be work by the French painter Edouard Manet (1832-1883) and the English painter John Everett Millais (1829-1896). We will be looking at the interplay between historical and masquerade or theatrical costume, on the one hand, and contemporary fashion, on the other, as it was manifested in the visual arts. Costume and fashion offered a source for the imaginative presentation of identity and personality as well as tactile and gestural models for visual depiction. The representation of clothing also posed questions of truth in historical and modern life painting. There will be a research project in which you will have an opportunity to explore an individual painting or group of paintings in depth. The seminar is designed to develop research skills through a sequence of individual and group assignments. The course will introduce you to exploring primary sources from the period such as artists' correspondence, historical costume books, and fashion journals. Recommended texts include Marie Simon, Fashion in art: the Second Empire and impressionism (1995); Charles Baudelaire, "The Painter of Modern Life" (1863); Jason Rosenfeld and Alison Smith, Millais (2007); and Oscar Wilde, "The Suitability of Dress" (1882).
Estimated cost of materials: $100 or more, but less than $150. D. 4.