Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Spot the difference

Peter Cresswell has the right-hand John Singer Sargent painting of Madame X posted at his blog. This is apprently the infamous portrait that scandalised Paris.

In fact, it was the one on the left (photogragh of the 1884 original). Sargent had dared to paint Madame X with her right shoulder strap dangling down which Deborah Davis writes, in Strapless, John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X, suggested to "outraged Parisian viewers, either the prelude to or aftermath of sex."

This left the artist "stunned" and his subject "bathed in tears".

"After the Salon ended Sargent repainted Madame X, placing the fallen shoulder strap in its proper position. He kept the portrait in his studio for the next three decades, then sold it to the Metropolitan soon after Amelie's Death." (Amelie being the model.)

How times have changed. What would those Parisians have inferred from the way women dress today? That's one heck of a lot of sex going on!

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