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May 31 / Gemma Insinna

Clothing and Art – The Vintage Village

Artists have traditionally staged a subject for a painting, whether it was a person or model, as the case may be, in the dress or with the props that tell a story of some sort.
Caravaggio comes to mind immediately, with his elaborate scenes, painted using as his models grocer’s delivery boys dressed as Bacchus, or a street friend dressed as Mary Magdaline.
And as we progress forward in time , we see portraits done by John Singer Sargent of women in fabulous ballgowns and men in tuxedos and top hats. Certainly not your everyday dress by any means…
I think the point and the fun is in being remembered by future generations with your most elegant foot forward!
I collect vintage clothing, and early on I had started taking photos of some of my most unusual the dresses.
I decided to do the above self portrait painting of me, wearing one of these victorian outfits. Dressing up is fun in itself, but if you can do something even more with the photograph, it’s even better!
I’d love to do more paintings with staged dress up , and in fact I did several portraits of friends dressed up in various Victorian outfits, including children, because I had some turn of the century children’s straw hats which are perfect portrait props!
I just wanted to share this aspect of vintage collecting, and what it has meant to me in relation to my painting!
Thanks for reading this!
Gemma Insinna

Tags: Art, Caravaggio, clothing, Gemma Insinna, John Singer Sargent, paintings, Sargent, , vintage

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