Archives for posts with tag: Alfonso I d’Este

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Felice Casorati, the red jacket, 1939, MART Rovereto, Italy


In this, and the following posts, I shall let my selection of images speak for itself. Colour can be quite fascinating, especially when worn in contrasting combinations.

I will begin with a personal favourite of mine: red and burgundy. The brightness of the red is reflected yet absorbed by the muted tone of the burgundy. Exciting.


Mark Rothko

Back in the Renaissance it was actually men who favoured this colour combination

D.Ghirlandaio,man,met NY

Domenico Ghirlandaio, man,  15th century, Metropolitan museum New York USA

Alfonso I d'Este,Duca di Ferrara marito Lucrezia Borgia


Dosso Dossi, Alfonso I d’Este Duke of Ferrara

By the 1800s, initially due to Romanticism and Renaissance revival,  it was very popular with women too

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J.E. Millais, actress Kate Dolan impersonating Portia, 1886, Metropolitan  museum, New York

J.S.Sargent, Ena e Betty Wertheimer,1901,tate

John Singer Sargent, Ena and Betty Wertheimer, 1901, Tate Britain, UK

In the above portrait, the contrasting combination of colours is not in the actual dress – which is a rich light burgundy –  but it’s created by the eye-catching red flowers worn in the sensual dark hair of the sitter.

Charles James,evening dress,1949,Kent state uni usa


Charles James, evening dress in silk and velvet, 1949, Kent State university collection, USA

Fashion Italy 1960

Sorelle Fontana atelier Rome, Wool and velvet day suit, 1960 (1960 Italian fashion magazine photo)

nike 2014

Nike sports shoe, 2014


Bartolomeo Veneto,Luc Borgia come Beata Beatrice d'Este,Snite mus Indiana

 Bartolomeo Veneto, possibly Lucrezia Borgia (wife of Alfonso I d’Este), 1500c, Snite museum, Indiana, USA

There are many reasons for wearing stripes. As I mentioned in my last post, during the middle ages in european culture striped clothing was associated with the devil  (via the Arab / infidel-culture link).

So when do stripes really become a fashion trend?

The Renaissance is the answer. It’s enough to look through a gallery of portraits to realize that by the middle of the 16th Century stripes were really “in”. By this time stripes had lost their negative connotations (Humanist culture of the 15th Century had brought about some fundamental changes to the way man related to God and religious culture in general). Conspicuous consumption was the fashion and investing in attention-seeking clothes was a necessity for anyone who had money and/or status (the two didn’t always go together but one could lead to the other).

What better way to grab attention than through bold, striking, striped clothing? Both men and women adopt what in other eras have been termed as “loud” stripes – thick, straight and chromatically strong. In the first decades of the 1500s we find this growing trend throughout Europe. Interestingly, at first, stripes tended to be created by stitching strips of contrasting colour onto a base textile. Eventually we find woven striped fabric being used instead.

Dosso Dossi, Alfonso I d'Este Duke of Ferrara

Dosso Dossi, Alfonso I d’Este Duke of Ferrara, 1530c, ?

Germans were doing it as we can see in the portrait and the surviving garment bellow:

L.Cranach elder,man,1532,met NY

Lucas Cranach the elder, gentleman, 1532, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA

gown of Elector Moritz of Saxony 1521-1553,part of complete set,abegg-stiftung mus ch

Silk over gown (back view), part of set belonging to Elector Moritz of Saxony, 1530s, Abegg-Stiftung museum, Switzerland

The French:

j.clouet,Francois I 1525-30

Jean Clouet, King François I of France, 1525-30c, Louvre museum, Paris, France

The English:

Hans Holbein, Henry Brandon,1541,Royal col Windsor

Hans Holbein, Henry Brandon, 1541, Royal collection, Windsor Castle, UK

By the last quarter of the 16th Century, bold applied stripes had been replaced by equally attractive and equally expensive, striped silk

Opnamedatum 2004-23-09

F. Pourbous the elder, gentleman of the Order of Calatrava, 1581, Rijks museum Amsterdam, Holland