I chose Dutch artist Peter Paul Rubens for my ‘Art of Lingerie’ series because of his love of portraying extravagance, prosperity and voluptuousness. This 16th-century painter was immensely popular, using a workshop to complete the enormous commissions from royalty throughout Europe and dying a wealthy man (an anomaly among artists!).
Women in Rubens’ paintings do not necessarily wear a lot of clothing, and certainly not lingerie. But I thought Rubens was a rich subject for an ‘Art of Lingerie’ post because of the Baroque abundance that characterizes his lush depictions of clothing, food, animals and people.
Fleur of England – Snow Queen Silk Georgette Boudoir Gown, $364 (on sale from $748)
Rubens doesn’t focus on clothing details or styles in the same way that artists like Vermeer or Holbein do, but the sweeping billowing cloth and the richness of the fabric makes makes it easy to match to similarly luxuriant garments. These three gowns from Fleur of England, Christine Lingerie and Felice Art Couture capture the majesty, luxury and simplicity of the mythological figures depicted in Rubens’ ‘Judgment of Paris.’ Like the light wraps of the three goddesses in the painting, these beautiful gowns cascade around the body, gently corresponding to it’s contours and allowing a shrouded glimpse of the flesh underneath.
I chose these three pieces because of the wealth of the detail and the representations of the bounty of nature. In the painting, Diana holds her catch, while Pan holds fruits and vegetables, both of their arms so full that their arms are overflowing. Both the Chantelle bra and the Ayten Gasson silk bed jacket have a floral element, reminiscent of the fruit and flowers of the nature gods in painting. The La Lilouche gown resembles the crimson robe that Diana drapes around herself in the painting, with a grand and classical shape.
The image of the nude goddess in the mirror lends itself to a selection of delicate nightgowns. In the painting, the goddess is practically naked, but you can see a sheer, white garment beneath the seat. I chose the Naked Princess and Zinke babydolls because of their lightness and their resemblance to the wrap in the image. The Carine Gilson robe is more substantial than the other two pieces and less like the one in the image, but it also has the luxurious boudoir feeling that the painting evokes.
If you liked this piece, check out the rest of my ‘Art of Lingerie’ series. Who should I do next?