Late, but here...
> >>>(corset) which we know wasn't done then and there.<<<<
> No, we don't really know this, we surmise. It may be that she was
weaing an early pair of bodies or corset, especially so if this really
belongs in the 1540s.
I have half an answer to this one.
In that recent file I sent around, is a rather lengthy and sometimes
confusing because of its miniscule detail discussion on what the word
"camicia" and its variants actually means. Italians had a very broad
sense of what that word meant historically. They lump all sorts of
upper body garments into that word-sleepwear, underwear, and yes,
corsets or bodies. So it's *very* hard to tell based on text evidence
what's what, but if you go back far enough, they define them early in
time, leaving it to the assumption of the contemporary reader to know
what they are taking about. It's akin to us referring to "kimono" or
"sake" in Japanese - both of them mean simply "clothing" and "alcohol"
to the Japanese, but to us Westerners, they are more specific objects.
That the reference to a pair of bodies comes up in the first place is
a start to suggest they indeed wore something to that effect. However,
having seen some recent interior photos of the Pisa gown, I think the
Italians had a very different construction method from what we are
used to, which is why we aren't seeing it for what it is. It also may
answer a lot of questions on the mysteries of the ladder laced gown. I
think it has to do with the climate in Italy. It was simply too
oppressively hot to wear a corset.
The fit, especially as it curves around the bust and up to the
shoulders is not natural, and frankly, I'm not sure how you could
construct a garment to fit like that.<<<<
It can happen. I've seen it done.
Someone on the H-cost list wanted to make this gown. She consulted
with me on how it could be possible. We bantered a few ideas around
and came up with a plausible solution. She tried it, and save for a
very minor gap, she pulled it off. I can ask her for links to the
photos again, I seem to have misplaced it.
> Perhaps the lady was more of an individual and wanted her bodice a
little more pointed? Or perhaps the artist took liberties with the
point and with the neckline for his own reasons? Either and both
together are possible.
Well......once you move it into the right period, it fits right in.
however, there is another painting with a pointed bodice in the same
grouping you have this one in:
She is in profile, so it's not as obvious, but it's certainly pointed.
I think what is throwing everything off is the visual appearance of an
arch to the angle of the bodice hem. Most of them are a straight,
somewhat unnatural cut. This one is a little more organic in its
appearance. So is this one:
and this one:
Statistically not popular, but also not totally unique once you start
comparing it to others with similar elements.
> My own interpretation of this is that this is either the depiction
of a courtesan with part of her hair down (in the tradtion of Palma
Vecchio), or just a partial state of dishabille.
It can also suggest virginity. Eligible bachelorettes were allowed to
wear their hair down. I suspect this might be an allegory of a virgin,
since her skin is so pale. See below for my next comment.
> >>>>The last point is the face, and the lack of coloring in it.
Bordone painted pale women before, but never that pale.<<<<
> Very likely due to the photographic process, however, very pale skin
was in vogue, so it may also be that the painter flattered his
subject. Perhaps it is an idealised portrait.
Pale skin was one of the many implied methods for telling a virgin on
site, more specifically the colour of her nipples. Apparently once a
woman has known a man, her nipples darken - well, so they say. There
are several other visual clues they thought could tell a true virgin
from one that was erhm.. born again. ;-) The book I mentioned, "How to
Do It" lists several of these visual clues. None of them even close to
correct, but they believed it back then.
It's also possible the red colour in her skin simply faded. Bad batch
of red paint, Paris. Sorry bout your luck. ;-)
> >>> Also, the eyes are painted using a different technique,<<<<
Different from what? It doesn't strike me that terribly odd. But to
concede the point of possibility, it can also be a post period retouch
during a conservation effort as well and the other suggestions that
> >>>and, a minor point, but none of Bordone's other subjects wear
earrings. For that matter, go down the whole 1530's gallery. No one
is wearing earrings.<<<<
You also notice that he paints the same woman with the same chunk of
fabric draped over her in various ways? Methinks it happens to be the
model's preference to not wear earrings. I'm equally dubious about the
pearl necklace. It sits too round on the neck for the length that it
is. It should hang a little more ovoid. I was just reading about
another of his paintings that was "restored" in 1930, and they painted
an entire piece of clothing onto her at that time. She was bare to the
hips originally, but they decided to "update" her modesty. Maybe
someone felt she needed jewellry.