Cover image for Fabric of vision : dress and drapery in painting
Fabric of vision : dress and drapery in painting
Hollander, Anne.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : National Gallery : Distributed by Yale University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
207 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
"Published to accompany an exhibition at the National Gallery, London, 19 June 2002-8 September 2002"--T.p. verso.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N8217.C68 H655 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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This illustrated volume examines how artists have used clothing and drapery - real and imagined, sacred and secular - as elements in their paintings to give emphasis and emotional force to their figures.

Author Notes

Anne Hollander is an independent art historian, critic and historian of dress

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Accompanying an exhibition at London's National Gallery of Art in summer 2002, this volume by fashion historian Hollander (Sex and Suits) demonstrates how artists used garments and draperies as an expressive means in their paintings. Covering Western European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, Hollander shows how fabric in art reflected each era's social preoccupations, fashions, and tastes. For example, in the 15th century, representations of draperies demonstrated a respect for the properties of the cloth itself, while in the 16th and 17th centuries, rich drapery became used as an emotive, dramatic element. By the early 19th century, dress reflected a new classical simplicity, and the suit became the staple item for men. From then on, women's dress would be more the focus of emotion and sexuality, until the 20th century, when clothing was subordinated altogether to color and forms on a flat surface. The text is illustrated by more than 140 beautiful full-color illustrations of works by such artists as Tintoretto, Van Dyck, Delacroix, and Picasso. Throughout, Hollander brings new insight into the fields of both art and costume history. Recommended for libraries that collect books on art and costume.-Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The author of the well-known Seeing through Clothes (CH, Mar'79) prepared this exhibition catalog for the National Gallery, London. One of a new breed of exhibition catalogs, it offers a checklist at the end of works exhibited while the body of the book provides a fleshed-out essay ranging uninhibitedly over whatever examples are most pertinent. The result is an odd bird: an exhibition catalog that deserves to stay in print indefinitely, for it is a beautifully written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the whole of western European painting from the 14th century through the 20th from a specific, yet basic and widely interesting point of view. This is not just a book for people fascinated by clothes, but for anyone who likes to think about paintings. The basic subject is how the practices of real-life fashion intersected with the idealized vision provided by painting, a subject laced on the one hand with historical insights into such basic questions as when fashion began and, on the other hand, with new and useful evidence about the evolving varieties of classicism that have spiced the European aesthetic over centuries. The writing is exceptionally deft; the ideas will interest novices and experts alike. For all levels of readers. P. Emison University of New Hampshire

Table of Contents

Author's Acknowledgementsp. 6
Forewordp. 7
Introductionp. 9
I Cloth of Honourp. 13
II Liberated Draperiesp. 37
III Sensuality, Sanctity, Zealp. 57
IV High Artificep. 79
V Romantic Simplicity: Womenp. 101
VI Romantic Simplicity: Menp. 119
VII Restraint and Displayp. 139
VIII Nude and Modep. 153
IX Woman as Dressp. 165
X Form and Feelingp. 177
List of Exhibited Worksp. 199
List of Lendersp. 204
Photographic Creditsp. 205
Indexp. 206