Boldini and Fashion


Making a name for himself in Paris during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Boldini established his chic, “fashionable” style of portrait painting in the epicentre of modernity and elegance. He used his distinct painterly style to immortalise the protagonists and celebrities of that legendary era, from Robert de Montesquiou and Cléo de Mérode to Lina Cavalieri and Marchesa Casati
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Fashion played a fundamental role in his work, as it represented the quintessence of modern life, an element linking painting to contemporaneity. Fashion - clothing, accessories and even the sophisticated expression that transforms the body into a place of desire - soon became an essential, distinguishing attribute of his portraiture. Thanks to his captivating painting style, which united dynamic, sinewy brush strokes with mannered, sensual poses, Boldini asserted his personal way of portraying society, which would become a model for style and trends, foreshadowing the formulas and languages of the cinema and glamorous photography of the twentieth century.


The exhibition is the first to explore the long, fruitful relationship between Boldini and Parisian haute couture, and the influence it had on his portraiture as well as the work of painters like Degas, Sargent, Whistler and Paul Helleu. Arranged into thematic sections, each enriched by writers who have sung the praises of fashion as an art form, from Baudelaire to Wilde, Proust and D’Annunzio, the exhibition offers an engaging journey amid paintings, exquisite period clothing and precious objects that embody the relationship between art, fashion and literature in the Belle Époque. Visitors will be immersed in the refined, shimmering atmosphere of the French metropolis.

Curated by Barbara Guidi in collaboration with Virginia Hill
Organised by the Fondazione Ferrara Arte and the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Ferrara


Palazzo dei Diamanti - Corso Ercole I d'Este 21 - Ferrara


12 February to 2 June 2019


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Ufficio Informazioni e Prenotazioni Mostre e Musei Ercole I d'Este, 21
telefax 0532 203064
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last modified Oct 29, 2018 12:17
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