Looking for the painter in SEWI

Added: Aiden Beekman - Date: 11.03.2022 10:24 - Views: 25704 - Clicks: 6618

Men in paintings get all the best roles: armoured champions over dragons and sea-monsters, explorers and adventurers going where no man has been before, and so on. One of them which recurs throughout painting, even back to classical times, is sewing and needlework. In three articles I am going to explore a small selection of paintings which show women not dangerously! The first two cover the long history of sewing by hand, and the third the more recent history of sewing machines. My aim is to trace the role and ificance of sewing in paintings, and how we might read this activity.

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In the oldest classical and post-classical paintings, sewing was one of a group of fibrecrafts which were acceptable for women of all ranks. Others include spinning, weaving, knitting, and crochet. Indeed, compilations of art resources such as Wikimedia Commons confound them, including knitting, crochet, embroidery, tapestry, and other fibrecraft within the category of sewing.

Although I show a few paintings of embroidery and tapestry, and one of knitting, I largely constrain my view to fibrecraft performed using a sewing needle. As she is looking down at her work, its role as a portrait is limited.

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Much of what it has to say is about what she is doing with her hands, her skill, and peaceful concentration. Many portraits are different: a woman poses with her needlework beside her, a common variation which was socially acceptable even for royalty.

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Such portraits were popular and numerous, and I consider them no further here. It may not have been until well into the nineteenth century that needlework came to assume an important role in another major painting. Certainly it was in that century that sewing and needlework became the main thread of so many. A young Dutchwoman works with her needle and thread in the light of an unseen window at the left. The scene is timeless, the woman solitary. This adds to her domestication, making her appear a married woman undertaking her wifely tasks, in spite of her obvious youth.

She is wrapped in a flame-red kimono-like gown, and appears engrossed in her work, which might actually be lace-making rather than sewing. Both figures appear to be whiling away idle time, rather than engaging in any form of lesson. The women of wealthy families appear to have spent much of their time engaged in activities intended to pass the time. Three of the four are engaged in needlework, although it is not clear precisely what. Not only are these women sewing their lives away, waiting for the next event on their social calendar, but they sit apart, and concentrate on their work, without talking to one another.

Their sewing provides them with a small world of their own, whose only hurt could be the infrequent prick of a needle.

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Thomas Eakins painted just a couple of dozen watercolours during his career. Seventy Years Ago, fromwhich explores the early Federal period in Philadelphia is one of those few. This must have coincided with increased interest in that era resulting from the national centennial in A spinning wheel at the left edge shows her to an accomplished fibrecrafter. Emma Ekwall was the first Swedish woman painter to be awarded a royal medal, and painted many outstanding portraits of young children. Her undated portrait of a Girl Working by Hand captures the concentration of a young girl as she works with fibres by hand.

It begs several questions: she is undeniably sewing, with a thimble on the middle finger of her right hand, so why is she not clothed? Why is there a mandolin hanging from the inside of the window behind her? Apparently painted in Paris, the scene is more plausibly that of a more southern location.

These oddities appear to have been too much for the public at the time, leaving this work unsold. Young Scheveningen Woman Seated: Facing Left is one of the Looking for the painter in SEWI surviving paintings by Vincent van Gogh, dating fromand one of his few watercolours. It was probably painted when he was at Etten, or perhaps early in his time in The Hague. ByRenoir had established himself as one of the more successful of the French Impressionists. When in Sicily that year, he painted a portrait of Richard Wagner.

As with several other Impressionists, his dealer was Paul Durand-Ruel, who commissioned Renoir to paint each of his five children. She is wholly absorbed in her needlework, holding it close, suggesting she may be myopic. Lise Trehot shows up a lot later, and although recognizable, ificantly differently rendered. Like Liked by 1 person. Like Like. How lovely to have owned this painting and to have been able to view it everyday.

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I love your post and appreciate your subject. It is one of my favorites! Thank you for your kind words. My wife does a lot of fibrecrafts — mainly crochet and knitting — and I have promised her that one day I will bring together paintings of those too. Wikimedia Commons. Pierre-Auguste Renoir —Lise Sewingoil on canvas, Thomas Eakins —Seventy Years Agowatercolour and gouache on cream wove paper with graphite border, Like this: Like Loading Lots of concentration in all those sitters — portrayals of concentrated thought.

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Looking for the painter in SEWI

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