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Michelle Tolini Finamore and Ann Poulson

The emergence of the motion picture film as a popular form of entertainment, together with the distribution networks established by the film industry and the proliferation of purpose-built cinemas in the first few decades of the 20th century, meant that films became an important method of disseminating fashionable trends as well as an important historical source of information about contemporary fashion. As American filmmaking benefitted from the disruption caused to the European film industry by two World Wars, it rose to prominence and, through the corporate consolidation of the industry in Hollywood and the concomitant rise of the ‘studio system’, which resulted in a polished and distinctive film product, it further came to dominate the global market for cinema, making it a primary source for the study of fashion.

Michelle Tolini Finamore

In the incipient years of the film industry, there was no standard source for actors’ clothing. In any given film, clothing was derived from the actor’s own wardrobe, luxury couture salons or the studio wardrobe collections, which were increasingly overseen by professional designers. The silent era saw the film industry evolve from a small-scale form of entertainment for the working class to a more refined product aimed at middle-class audiences. This change marked the beginning of what is now known as Hollywood’s ‘golden age’. This period witnessed profound changes in audience, corporate organization and design philosophy, all of which influenced how fashion was communicated to the public....

Article

Meghan E. Grossman

Fashion photography is the use of photography to communicate the latest trends in clothing. It acts as a representation of popular taste and is created to serve a commercial industry, yet it has also served as an avenue for change, pushing the boundaries of acceptability with innovations in style, technique, and the portrayal of fashion. Fashion photography was a democratizing force in the acceptance of photography, as it brought the new form of expression to an audience of every social level, rich or poor, urban or suburban. Via mass media, photography serves to relate changes in fashion over long distances and many cultures, primarily disseminating the styles of high fashion in Paris, Milan, or New York to the rest of the world.

Fashion photography as it exists today falls into three main categories: editorial, advertising, and documentary. In the first category, photographs are commissioned by a publication to provide the “news” in fashion to its audience. These photographs are intended to feature the best designs of the current season, without monetary compensation from the companies whose products are included. Editorial photographs are often tied together by theme or narrative, to create a coherent multi-page spread featuring several different designs. Advertising photographs are commissioned by the design house, manufacturer, or retailer to feature a product or brand identity. The company pays for the space in which the advertising photograph appears. Finally, fashion design companies often commission photographers to document their collections; these photographs can be used in-house for documentary purposes or published in the form of a catalog, which serves as additional advertising. Depending on the purpose of the assignment, the photographer may choose to feature the clothes on a model, or hide fashion pieces amongst a jumble of unrelated objects. The goal of the photographer is to elevate the clothing to its highest status, the “fashion object,” through visual cues, lighting, composition, and creativity. Photography has served to add prestige to fashionable clothes since its introduction....

Article

Alice Mackrell

Fashion plates are images made specifically to illustrate to people types of clothes that they should wear to keep up to date with fashions; they also give instructions or guidance on whether the clothing shown would suit the taste and style of the individual wearer. They evolved in the 18th century in Europe and have their origin in 16th-century Trachtenbücher (Ger.: ‘clothing books’), which in turn grew out of a desire for more knowledge about costume and the development of printing. For the first time such books gathered together and illustrated information about costume, jewellery and many new decorative motifs, such as embroidery. They declined during the 19th and 20th centuries when they were superseded by photography. While text was minimal, the illustrations they contained were a record of what was being worn, with particular reference to nationality and rank. The most important of the costume books for the history of costume is considered to be ...

Article

Lourdes Font, Beth McMahon, Cassandra Gero, Ann Poulson, Nancy Deihl, Lourdes M. Font, Deirdre Clemente, and Clare Sauro

This article defines, describes and traces the history of the major categories of Western fashion design, with an emphasis on women’s high fashion.

The term ‘underwear’ refers to several different types of garment worn under outer layers of clothing. The first type is the basic undergarment worn next to the skin, historically made of washable linen or cotton. The English term ‘linen’ and the French term ‘lingerie’ (Fr. linge: ‘linen’) are synonyms for basic undergarments. The second type of underwear is a foundation garment worn to alter the shape of the body. The term ‘understructure’ also applies to these garments, which create or support the silhouette demanded by fashion at a given time. Although at various times it has been fashionable to reveal underwear at the neckline, sleeve or hemline, both basic undergarments and the foundation garments worn over them are usually invisible under the outer layers of clothing. Finally, there is a type of lingerie identified as undress; clothing that is worn only in private situations in the home. Although not considered acceptable public attire, over time undress frequently develops into fashionable outerwear....

Article

Lourdes Font and Beth McMahon

Fashion is defined as the act or process of making or shaping. As applied to dress, (see Dress) it can be understood to mean the making or shaping of the appearance of the body by means of clothing and adornment in a way that expresses aesthetic ideals that are continually subject to change. Like dress in general, fashion is a multi-faceted cultural phenomenon and plays an important role in defining social class, gender and identity. Fashionable dress, however, is distinguished by constant and rapid changes in style, transmitted through the representation of the fashionable ideal in visual art and media as well as through the direct interaction of individual fashion leaders. The word ‘fashion’ also indicates the global system of design, production and consumption of garments and accessories that are, for a limited time, considered fashionable and thus invested with greater social value (see fig.). The fashion industry today is a global system, but it has not always existed at all places and times. This article discusses the origin and development of Western fashion....

Article

Sandra Sider

Folk art, or vernacular art (specific to a group or place), developed in Colonial America out of necessity when individual households produced most of the utilitarian objects required for daily life. Using traditional tools and techniques, many of these makers created pieces in which aesthetics came to play a substantial role, through form, ornamentation, or both. In some groups, notably the Shakers, function was emphasized, with pure form evoking an aesthetic and spiritual response. Religious beliefs have informed American folk art, such as the saints and other figures (Santos) carved and painted by Catholic settlers in the Southwest as early as 1700. Although the majority of folk art is now anonymous, the oeuvre of numerous individual artists can be determined by their distinctive styles or marks. Folk art is often considered within the field of ‘material culture’, with an emphasis on the object’s context rather than its creator. Most American folk art falls within three categories: painting and cut paper, textiles and fibre, and three-dimensional work such as furniture, carvings, metalwork, ceramics, and outdoor installations....

Article

Forgery  

Thierry Lenain

One of many forms of deceit wherein one attempts to make an object pass for something it is not. Within discussions of art, this object is an artwork intentionally misrepresented so as to appear substantially different from what it actually is. The fraud may affect first-degree properties of the work, such as its material constitution, artistic content, or general appearance, but may also be applied to its historical background. In some cases, part of an existing artwork may be retained while other elements are added or removed. The work as a whole can be altered so as to present an alternate reality: it may be made to appear older, or in a better state of preservation, or to represent a different subject (a royal, rather than a common subject for example), and so forth. A similar end can be achieved through the construction of a completely new object disguised as something else; this is what is usually referred to as ‘forgery’ in the narrowest sense of the word....

Article

Robert Williams

Term for any approach to the arts, whether theoretical, critical or historical, that emphasizes the autonomy or primacy of formal qualities. In the case of painting, these qualities are usually understood to be compositional elements such as line, value, colour and texture: they can be distinguished from technique on the one hand and content on the other. Because compositional elements can be considered and enjoyed independently of the way in which a picture evokes the visible world, tells a story or expresses philosophical ideas, some formalists have argued that representation of any kind is incidental to art. They may be answered by those who insist that formal values, when elevated to objects of primary interest, in fact perform a kind of representation. The difficulties involved in the use of such terms helps explain why formalism has met with resistance in recent decades; at the same time, the issues that it attempts to address are so fundamental to art that it is bound to arouse perennial interest....

Article

Stephen Bann

(b Poitiers, Oct 15, 1926; d Paris, June 25, 1984).

French critic. He was one of a small group of French philosophers and critics who achieved worldwide fame in the 1960s by offering a distinctively new perspective on the human sciences. Although these thinkers were generally grouped under the heading of Structuralism, Foucault himself frequently denied being a Structuralist. He was more a historian whose choice of subject-matter—the history of madness, the birth of the clinic, the history of sexuality—involved him in an unremitting critical examination of the discourse through which his subjects of study had, as he saw it, been constituted.

Foucault’s major contribution to the history of art lies in the new attention he devoted to the issue of representation. In Les Mots et les choses (1966) he began his account of the relation between words and things from the Renaissance to the modern period with a brilliant analysis of Velázquez’s painting Las meninas. This was explained as a kind of allegory of the process of representation itself as it was conceived in the ‘classic age’ of the 17th and 18th centuries, an interplay of different ‘looks’. The painter Velázquez looks out at us, Foucault argued, but we also occupy the same viewing space as his sitters, the King and Queen of Spain, whose presence can be inferred from their appearance in the mirror opposite to us. This challenging interpretation of ...

Article

Richard Wollheim

(b Freiberg, Moravia [now Příbor, Czech Republic], May 6, 1856; d London, Sept 23, 1939).

Austrian psychoanalyst and collector. After studying at the University of Vienna and working first in histology, then in neurology, he spent the winter of 1885–6 in the clinic of the great French pathologist, Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–93). From Charcot Freud learnt that every hysterical symptom is ideogenic, in other words an idea plays a crucial part in its genesis. The bodily extent of the symptom corresponds not to any neuro-physiological unit but to what the idea denotes, and the symptom may be alleviated through talking out the idea, for example under hypnosis. The pathogenic idea is invariably unconscious, or inaccessible to consciousness. Over the years Freud, while maintaining a clinical practice in Vienna, elaborated and transformed this hypothesis, and out of it psychoanalytic theory emerged.

First, Freud extended the scope of the hypothesis from symptoms to bungled actions, slips of the tongue, dreams, jokes, and eventually the neurosis. Secondly, he recognized that the idea, originally held to be the core of a memory, represented a desire. Thirdly, Freud concluded that the idea was unconscious because the mind had defended itself against something unacceptable. For many years he equated defence with repression but he then admitted other mechanisms of defence, such as projection, introjection, denial and splitting. Fourthly, Freud identified the desires that provoked repression as being, ultimately, infantile and sexual. Having conceded infantile sexuality he gradually worked out an account of psychosexual development, consisting of the oral, anal, phallic and genital stages, complicated by regression. Freud’s theory of the ‘Oedipus complex’, a crucial occurrence in this development, postulated that the child, seeking the undivided sexual attentions of one parent, comes to desire the annihilation of the other, and its ‘dissolution’ through the introjection of the hated, hence feared, parent, led to a greater attention to the structure and internal functioning of the mind. In ...

Article

Frances Spalding

(Eliot)

(b London, Dec 14, 1866; d London, Sept 9, 1934).

English theorist, critic and painter. He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol, and King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences. He was descended on both sides of his family from seven generations of Quakers, but he abandoned Christian beliefs on reaching adulthood. The legacy of Quakerism, however, continued to influence the direction of his career in his willingness to stand apart from mass opinion and from established authority, and in his distrust of all display.

On leaving Cambridge, he trained as a painter, first under Francis Bate (1853–1950), then for two months at the Académie Julian in Paris. He regarded the activity of painting as central to his life and continued to paint and exhibit throughout his career. Although critical opinion has never been high, his art stands out consistently for its intellectual clarity of construction. However, Fry also soon established a reputation as a scholar of Italian art. He made his first visit to Italy in ...

Article

Garden  

John Dixon Hunt, K. S. Kropf, Dominique Collon, W. J. Tait, Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, David M. Jones, Leslie Brubaker, Vivian A. Rich, Yasser Tabbaa, James Dickie, Mahvash Alemi, Godfrey Goodwin, Tan Tanaka, Stanislaus Fung, Jae Hoon Chung, Bruce A. Coats, William Warren, Nora Taylor, Christopher Thacker, Michael Leslie, Denis A. Lambin, Patrick Bowe, Claudia Lazzaro, K. A. Ottenheym, Judith A. Neiswander, and Betsy Anderson

Relatively small space of ground, usually out of doors, distinguished from the surrounding terrain by some boundary or by its internal organization or by both. A combination of architectural (or hard) and natural (or soft) materials is deployed in gardens for a variety of reasons—practical, social, spiritual, aesthetic—all of which are explicit or implicit expressions of the culture that created them. A garden is the most sophisticated expression of a society’s relationship with space and nature. This necessarily imprecise definition is meant to accommodate a profusion of examples: the pleasure garden, winter garden, flower garden, vegetable garden, Botanic garden, landscape garden, public garden, Sculpture garden, community garden, allotment garden, victory garden, peace garden, cloister garden, edible garden, rock garden, water garden, dry garden, nursery garden, remembrance garden, zoological garden etc. Between these examples exists a complicated network of similarities, criss-crossing and overlapping, that inhibit any more concrete definition.

See also...

Article

Amanda du Preez

Term used to indicate the complex visual matrix incorporating the one who looks as well as the one who is looked at. This means the one who imposes the gaze and the one who is the object of the gaze are both implicated in the construction of the gaze. The concept was addressed initially by Sigmund Freud’s concept of scopophilia (‘pleasure in looking’ or voyeurism) and later in Jacques Lacan’s formulation of the mirror stage and its role in identity formation. Lacan formulated the complex role of the gaze in constructing the relation between interior self and exterior world as two kinds of subjects—not only as a powerful subject gazing at the world but also as a lacking, objectified subject encountering the gaze outside himself. For the most part the link between the gaze and power is entrenched in theories on the gaze, since the directed gaze of the powerful subject has the ability to subjugate and even petrify its objects as exemplified in the terrifying gaze of Medusa in Greek mythology. The construction of the gaze happens within an asymmetry of power. In recent times, the gaze has become a trope within visual culture for the critical analysis of several entwined ideas concerning class, race, ethnography, sex, gender, religion, embodiment, ideology, power, and visuality. In this article the powerful directed gaze is analysed through the categories of the clinical gaze, colonial gaze, touristic gaze, and the male gaze. Finally, theorizing possibilities of going beyond the gaze are considered....

Article

Barbara Küng

(b Prague, April 14, 1888; d Zurich, April 9, 1968).

Swiss architectural historian, critic, teacher and writer. The son of a Swiss industrialist, he first studied mechanical engineering in Vienna. In 1913 he began to study art history in Zurich, continuing in Munich under Heinrich Wölfflin and producing his dissertation, Spätbarocker und romantischer Klassizismus, in 1922. The impressions he gained on his visit to the Bauhaus at Weimar in 1923 and his first meeting with Le Corbusier in 1925 were decisive for his future career. He developed lifelong friendships with the foremost architects of the Modern Movement, including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Karl Moser, and in 1928 he was among the founders of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne, becoming its secretary general and a convinced proponent of its aims (see CIAM). His convictions were expounded mainly in his publications, including his ground-breaking study of the French engineering tradition, Bauen in Frankreich (1928), which played down aesthetic influences and had a wide influence on views of the history of the Modern Movement; it also established his reputation as a proponent of modern architecture, and during the next few years he stressed the exclusion of aesthetic considerations from the deliberations of CIAM....

Article

(b Frankfurt am Main, Aug 28, 1749; d Weimar, March 22, 1832).

German writer, statesman, scientist, historian and theorist. By virtue of his prodigious literary output, his writings on art (notably in collaboration with Friedrich Schiller), his patronage as chief minister of Weimar, the extraordinary variety of his interests, and his sheer longevity, he had a profound influence on European culture.

Goethe began writing in the late 1760s, when the Romantic reaction against Neo-classicism had already started. The Rococo view of the Classical heritage, which stressed the formal elegance and rationality of the Greeks, was being dismantled by such writers as Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Joachim Winckelmann and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, all of whom influenced Goethe. Herder’s study of folk art, Homer and the Bible concurred with Goethe’s celebration of Shakespeare—in Rede zum Shäkespears Tag (1771)—and of Gothic art—in Von deutscher Baukunst (1772)—in acknowledging the role of passion and daemonic energy in art. These elements, it was claimed, were also present in Classical art; this contrasted with the Neo-classical emphasis on its rationality. This period of Goethe’s life produced such characteristically Romantic poems as ...

Article

(Hans Josef)

(b Vienna, March 30, 1909; d London, Nov 3, 2001).

Austrian art historian, active in England. He read art history at the University of Vienna under Julius von Schlosser. On graduating in 1933 he was invited to help Ernst Kris, then keeper of decorative arts at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, in his study of caricature. With the rise of National Socialism, he emigrated to England in 1936, with a recommendation from Kris to Fritz Saxl, Director of the Warburg Institute. During World War II Gombrich served with British Intelligence, monitoring German broadcasts. After the war he returned to the staff of the Warburg, by then part of London University, and served as director of the Institute from 1959 to 1976. He lectured widely and received many university appointments; for instance, he was elected Slade Professor of Fine Arts at Oxford (1950–53) and, later, at Cambridge (1961–3) and was also invited to Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (1959...

Article

Gothic  

Peter Kidson, Michael T. Davis, Paul Crossley, Dany Sandron, Kathryn Morrison, Andreas Bräm, Pamela Z. Blum, V. Sekules, Phillip Lindley, Ulrich Henze, Joan A. Holladay, G. Kreytenberg, Guido Tigler, R. Grandi, Anna Maria D’Achille, Francesco Aceto, J. Steyaert, Pedro Dias, Jan Svanberg, Angela Franco Mata, Peta Evelyn, Peter Tångeberg, Carola Hicks, Marian Campbell, Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, A. M. Koldeweij, G. Reinheckel, Judit Kolba, Lennart Karlsson, Barbara Drake Boehm, Danielle Gaborit-Chopin, Virginia Chieffo Raguin, Yvette Vanden Bemden, Nigel J. Morgan, Daniel Kletke, Erhard Drachenberg, and Scot McKendrick

Term used to denote, since the 15th century, the architecture and, from the 19th, all the visual arts of Europe during a period extending by convention from about 1120 to 1400 in central Italy, and until the late 15th century and even well into the 16th in northern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. The Early Gothic style overlapped chronologically with Romanesque and flourished after the onset of Renaissance art in Italy and elsewhere. Scholarly preoccupations with the nature of the Gothic style (see §I below) have been centred almost exclusively on architecture, and the term has never been satisfactory for the figural arts, especially painting (see §IV below); but the 19th-century tradition of classification has proved so enduring that it continues to be used for figural styles.

The people who produced what has since come to be known as Gothic art needed no name to distinguish what they were doing from other styles. They were aware of differences of appearance between the churches they built and buildings of earlier periods, but if these had any significance for them, it was mainly iconographical. As the defining characteristics of Gothic are always more conspicuous in ecclesiastical than in secular art, they no doubt considered its primary function to be in the service of the Church. Otherwise they seem to have been unaware that their arts had a history. It needed the comprehensive changes of taste associated with the Renaissance to introduce the notion of Gothic into the vocabulary of art. During the 15th century educated Italians such as ...

Article

Howard Caygill

(b Königsberg, Feb 2, 1700; d Leipzig, Dec 12, 1766).

German philosopher. He was the first of the philosophers influenced by Johann Christian von Wolff (1679–1754) to establish a place in Wolff’s system for the fine arts. He attended the universities of Königsberg and Leipzig in the early 1720s, where he wrote theses on Wolffian topics. In 1730 he published his enormously influential Versuch einer critischen Dichtkunst. This essay brings together traditional poetics, the theory of taste and Wolffian philosophy. Although he employed the traditional framework of commenting on Horace’s Ars poetica, Gottsched focused on the relation between taste and perfection: perfection is rational, the unity of a manifold, but may be ‘obscurely perceived’ by taste. His relaxation of the stern rationalism of Wolff was insufficient for the Zurich critics Bodmer and Breitinger, generating a controversy that rumbled on into the 1750s. It was also unacceptable to the later generation of romantic aestheticians, notably Goethe, who found his compromise between the rules of art and the demands of taste still too restrictive....

Article

Ken Carpenter

(b Bronx, NY, Jan 16, 1909; d New York, NY, May 7, 1994).

American critic. He studied at the Art Students League in New York (1924–5) and obtained his BA from Syracuse University (1930). He began his writing career while working as a clerk for US Customs, with frequent contributions to Partisan Review on politics, literature, and art. From 1940 to 1943 he was an editor of that journal and from 1942 to 1949 was a regular art critic for Nation. Greenberg came to prominence as the most articulate early proponent of such Abstract Expressionist painters as Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb, and Hans Hofmann, and of the sculptor David Smith. Greenberg’s exhibition, Post Painterly Abstraction (1964), championed a second generation of American and Canadian abstract painters such as Jack Bush, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski. He defined their work in Heinrich Wölfflin’s stylistic terms of ‘openness’ and linear clarity, arguing it was ‘fresh’ as the equally linear-style Pop art was not. In one of his last important articles, ‘Counter-avant-garde’ (...

Article

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

French term derived from the Italian grottesco, describing a type of European ornament composed of small, loosely connected motifs, including scrollwork, architectural elements, whimsical human figures and fantastic beasts, often organized vertically around a central axis.

Grotesque ornament was inspired by the archaeological discovery at the end of the 15th century, of the ancient Roman interiors of the Domus Aurea of Nero in Rome, and by subsequent finds of other palaces, tombs and villas in and around Rome and Naples. The interior walls and ceilings of these underground rooms, known as grotte, were painted in a light and playful manner previously unknown to those familiar only with the formal grammar of Classical ornament derived from more accessible antique ruins. A ceiling in such a room might be covered with an interlocking arrangement of compartments containing mythological or allegorical scenes depicted as trompe l’oeil cameos, or it might be subdivided into areas dominated by a single such compartment with the remaining space filled with a variety of motifs, symmetrically organized but otherwise unrelated either by scale or subject-matter. ...