One of the most enigmatic works of the 15th century ...
Etienne Chevalier next to his patron saint, Stephen ...
Saint Stephen wearing the dark robes of a deacon, holds a book,
on which a jagged stone is lying, symbolising his martyrdom
(St Stephen was stoned to death).
Etienne Chevalier kneels in a red robe with his hands clasped in prayer.
Chevalier sports a bowl cut or mushroom cut. It is named so because
in medieval times, when it was popular in Europe, a bowl would
be placed on the head and then used as a cutting guide to trim the hair.
Diptyque de Melun, volet de gauche: Étienne Chevalier présenté par saint Étienne
Melun Diptych, left-hand panel: Étienne Chevalier with his patron saint St. Stephen
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin
Surrounded by cherubs and seraphims
the Virgin and Child ...
blue dress, white mantle (very fashionable),
the bodice of the dress is unlaced, giving us a view of her breast
(a "blasphemous libertinism"?),
the shaved forehead, thin eyebrows (evidence of a preoccupation
with the beauty of the time)
There is a tradition that Agnés Sorel, the exceptionally beautiful
and influential mistress of Charles VII, and probably also
of Chevalier himself, was the model for this Madonna
“..There is a flavor of blasphemous boldness about the whole,
unsurpassed by any artist of the Renaissance…”
And so the two halves of the diptych were split up and never re-united.
Well actually they were, for in 1904, France borrowed the panels
from Berlin for an exhibition of French primitives.
Diptyque de Melun, volet droite: La Vierge et l'Enfant entourés d'anges
Melun Diptych, right-hand panel: Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels
Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp
Young, Stylish, and Venetian …
He gazes upwards, off into the unknown.
The young man's hair conceals his forehead and most of his ears.
The hairstyle was called a zazzera and was considered very fashionable
during the 1480s and 1490s in Venice.
(His hairstyle is rather formal, and I don't think any teenager today would
consider mimicking it, unless he or she is very passionate about Renaissance art).
Portrait of a Young Man
Portrait d'un jeune homme
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art owns a second portrait
by Jacometto in which the subject sports a zazzera …
The men in these two portraits wear long, black gowns typical
of upper-class Venetian men.
Portrait of Alvise Contarini
Portrait d'Alvise Contarini
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The great Dominican theologian Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Thomas holding a book and a model church,
the attributes of St. Dominic in Art:
black-and-white Dominican habit
Crivelli has picked out every hair in his eyebrows and short, tonsured hair.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
Saint Thomas d'Aquin
National Gallery, London
The daughter of a wealthy Florentine banker
dressed soberly and with refinement,
a black velvet headdress;
the lady's hairstyle is typical of the last quarter
of the fifteenth century in Florence,
the hair gathered at the nape, a center parting and two curls
framing the forehead.
Leonardo da Vinci
Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci
Portrait de Ginevra de' Benci
National Gallery of Art, Washington
An elegant red woolen gown with grey fur lining.
The left eye shows evidence of a squint, (the painter has taken a number of
liberties with representation to accentuate the features of his wife.)
The horned wimple is decorated with fine lace.
Way back in the fifteenth century, women were wearing their hair in “cornets”,
these weird looking spikes on the top of their heads that kind of look like
Whatever the inspiration of the cornets, they give serious devil-vibes and will
definitely be our look for Halloween next year.
Jan van Eyck
Portrait of Margaret van Eyck
Portrait de Margareta van Eyck
A theme from the iconography of Christian painting, a Sacred
Conversation bringing together divine (Virgin and Child)
and earthly (donor or sponsor) characters in the same scene …
Madonna and Child,
he kneels at prayer,
a bold floral patterned robe with fur trim
bowl haircut, hairstyle popular in mid-15th century
Jan van Eyck
Madonna of Chancellor Rolin
La Vierge au chancelier Nicolas Rolin
Musée du Louvre, Paris
magnificently dressed in contemporary costume,
most precious jewels,
the forehead is very high, according to the fashion of the time that imposed
a very high hairline,
sophisticated hairstyle ...
blond hair held in rolls on her temples and covered with a light white veil
Piero della Francesca
Diptych of Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza, detail Battista Sforza,
Countess of Urbino
Le Triomphe de la chasteté ou Double Portrait des ducs d'Urbino, détail Battista Sforza
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
a couple of dogs,
a parrot, a peacock,
chopines or platform shoes
sitting on a terrace, rouged cheeks, bored expressions ...
two ladies with blonde frizzy hair
Venice in the second half of the 15th century, women stop waxing their foreheads,
and go on to collect their hair in "fungus" (a mushroom-shaped hairstyle) covering
the ears with curly locks.
The hair had to be blonde (a bit coppery blonde), and Venetians dyed hair
in the altanas (elevated terraces) the hair color known as "juvenile water",
a liquid made with spices, herbs and even horse urine (which carried ammonia,
like current dyes).
Two Venetian Ladies
Deux Dames vénitiennes
Museo Correr, Venice
Placed before a distant landscape with towers, animated figures
and a bright sky,
in conspicuous contrast with his dark hair and hat
... all of these serve to accentuate his distinguished presence
one of my favorite portrait ...
ohh that fashionable gentleman, ohh that hair !
Vittore Carpaccio, Attributed to
Portrait of a Venetian Nobleman
Portrait d'un noble vénitien
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
An attractive band
hair caught up in a heavy plait from which two strands escape.
(The fact that her head is not covered by a headdress indicates that she is unmarried.)
Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Holbein l'Ancien
Portrait of a Woman
Portrait d'une femme
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
A natural redhead ...
Her hair and makeup was the beauty standard at that time:
pale skin, crimson red lips and cheeks,
a heart shaped hair accessorized with a little feather
headdress on top of it.
(Her heart shaped hair in the portrait is most likely to be a wig.
For most of her life, Elizabeth wore wigs, so she might have
chosen hair of any colour she liked, but she chose red;
she was so committed that she is even to have dyed the tails
of her horses to match.
Who says redheads don’t have a sense of humour?)
Anonymous, auteur inconnu
The Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I
Le portrait d’Élisabeth 1ere , dit de l’Armada
Royal Museums Greenwich, London
Louis XIII is 19 years old ...
an adolescent King at a pivotal moment in his life, having assumed full regal
power, and emerging from the control of his mother, Marie de’ Medici.
white silk doublet,
gold trimmings and embroidery,
sash and badge of the Order of the Saint Esprit
hair worn collar-length, a long strand of hair called a lovelock over
(Louis XIII started to pioneer wig-wearing when he had prematurely
begun to bald.)
Frans Pourbus le Jeune, Frans Pourbus the Younger
Portrait de Louis XIII
Portrait of King Louis XIII of France
Long hair, adorned with dozens of bows ...
The daughter of Philip IV, king of Spain and his second wife and niece,
Maria Anna of Austria, and the half-sister of Maria Theresa of Austria,
Queen of France, wife of Louis XIV.
For political reasons, Margarita Teresa was betrothed as a child
to her maternal uncle and paternal cousin, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor.
Anonymous, auteur inconnu
Margarita Teresa of Spain
Marguerite-Thérèse d'Autriche, infante d'Espagne
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
A wig with butterfly ribbons ...
The daughter of King Philip IV of Spain, María Teresa
became the presumptive heir to the throne in 1646.
Princely suitors from around Europe were keen to have
a portrait of the young infanta.
This portrait has served as a model for Velázquez's
assistants to copy as they met the demand for official
portraits of the young princess.
In 1660 the infanta married Louis XIV, her first cousin,
becoming queen of France.
María Teresa, Infanta of Spain
Portrait de l'Infante Marie-Thérèse d'Espagne
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Manhattan, New York City
Oh that wondrous wig …
French cavalry armor decorated with fleurs de lis of
command baton, helmet
a wig, created by the hairdresser Binette
He is thus magnificent !
(In 1658 due to typhoid or the remedies he was given to cure it began to lose his hair.
To hide the baldness, Louis XIV began to wear a wig.
And the court immediately resumed this fashion, which lasted 150 years.)
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV roi de France
Museo del Prado, Madrid
Wearing a pouf ...
The hairstyle would become popular across Europe in the 1780s.
The height varied, they could be one meter tall and weigh up to five kilograms.
Portrait of the Princess of Lamballe
Portrait of Marie Louise Thérèse de Savoie, princesse de Lamballe
Château de Versailles, Versailles
Oh yes, the 1830s. !
hairstyles with decorations and loops of braids and buns piled on top of the head ...
Here we see an actually rather subdued daytime hairstyle for the time period,
compensated for by a very fabulous dress.
Jan Adam Kruseman
Portrait of Alida Christina Assink
Portrait de Alida Christina Assink
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Like a true Parisian ...
an exuberant and disproportionate large pink satin ribbon
ingeniously interlaced with lace
curls, kept in place by gum Arabic or sugar water
Jan Adam Kruseman
Portrait of a Lady
Portrait d'une dame
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
If you want to change your style, choose one of the paintings and show it to your hairdresser …
Surprising hairstyles in Western painting
Surprenantes coiffures de la peinture occidentale
images and text credit www.
Music The Piano Guys Michael Meets Mozart
thanks for watching
merci M.C., merci Michel
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