4/25/2008

Hair-do of the week - Lady of the Chamber, 1625


This portrait was painted in 1625 by Peter Paul Rubens. It shows the lady of the chamber to Infanta Isabella. We do not know her name, but she is in all probability a good example of how women of a certain status would have looked like on the European continent at this time - an unruly time in the it's history.

The clothing of the baroque was not a simple affair. If you had the money you were supposed to spend it on your looks and on your wardrobe. But the hair was simple.

It is as if the hair-dos was not supposed to compete with the clothing - this lady does not wear things that are so spectacular, but it is still true. Her hair is just combed back, showing off the forehead, with a few stray curls around the temples which almost looks like an accident, like it was not meant to be like that but has been the result of a few hours of wear. In all probability it was meant to look like that though. It is a rather formal portrait and it would not be unheard of at the time.

Her hair must be pinned up in some way, but the view of the lady makes it impossible to say much about it. The only thing that reveals anything about how her hair is made is the narrow braid that can be seen at the back of the top of her head. It is in all probability the top of how the hair was pinned up at the back that we get a hint of here, but we can not be absolutely sure. In the same way as we can not be absolutely sure of anything else about this woman.

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