Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Day at the Met

I just recently visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (twice!) to see their spectacular exhibit Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity. The exhibit ties together the growing importance of fashion and the Impressionist artists working from the mid-1860’s to mid-1880’s. With the advent of department stores and fashion magazines, fashion had become more accessible and visible, allowing a broader swathe of the public to participate in the day’s trends. After going through the exhibit the first time, I marveled at the beautiful portraits and genre scenes and looked on in awe at the clothes women wore daily. I noticed how similar much of the jewelry in the women’s portraits is to pieces at Prather Beeland, and I thought it would be fun to highlight these portraits’ amazing jewelry. Many of the styles popular at the time remain popular today, and these ladies can give us inspiration on how jewelry should still be worn: be bold, wear yellow gold, pile on a variety of pieces, and stack them! I highly recommend this exhibit to anyone who can attend, but for a taste of what you will find, read on for some of the favorite paintings I have picked out for their fabulous accessories. 

Young Lady in 1866, Manet, 1866

First, I need to make clear-this is a cropped image to highlight her locket. The portrait is a full length depiction of his model Victorine Meurent whom he painted on other occasions including his famous nude Olympia. The gold locket is similar in size and shape to the locket in our post from February 25th. It too has decoration on the front. Although it is hard to decipher what the design is, it most likely is done in enamel. I love how she wears it on black ribbon. Whether long or short, ribbon instead of a chain is a great way to hang a locket! 

The Artist's Wife (Perie) Reading, Bartholome, 1883

I love this pastel and charcoal drawing of the artist's wife. We see her dressed to entertain, relaxing before the guests arrive. She wears an large gold bracelet on her left wrist and multiple rings on her left hand. The pinky ring appears to be a cluster ring- a center sapphire surrounded by diamonds. On her ring finger she has stacked pieces- still very popular today- wearing what I believe to be a diamond band and a ruby and diamond cluster ring. I adore the yellow gold and the multiple pieces. 130 years later this is still a great look!

Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children, Renoir, 1878

Again, I have cropped the image in order to see her jewelry better, but in its entirety this oil painting is just stunning!  She and her children are dressed beautifully as they sit in an elegant dressing room designed with Japanese elements showing her stylish lifestyle. She wears multiple pieces of jewelry including a yellow gold bracelet on her left wrist, a large yellow gold flower brooch, and a pair of small earrings.  My favorites are her snake jewelry, a symbol of eternal love.  She wears a yellow snake bracelet on her right wrist and a yellow gold snake ring on her right hand. The ring is set with colored gemstones.  Her pieces all work together and she looks so chic.

These are just a few of the many to see. There are more women decked in yellow gold and stacking them up. It's fun to see women of the time wearing pieces similar to those at Prather Beeland - still beautiful, and now with historical significance. These women are a great inspiration for how to wear our jewels!

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