More Muse: A Portrait of Madame X

Our latest addition to the Muse series, Madame X [After Sargent] is based upon John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X. The beauty and grandeur of the original painting provided us a lot of inspiration for our reinterpreted photograph. Yet it was the history and taboo associated with Sargent’s work that gave us much direction.

Madame X [After Sargent]

For Parisians in the Victorian era, Sargent’s display of bare skin proved scandalous for both model and artist. Mindful of that history, we borrow costume elements from the gay Leatherman’s subculture, and mash it up with our own gender twist. The harness, traditionally in leather, is re-imagined in black silk taffeta and chandelier crystal covered snaps. Originally leather chaps, they now shimmer in black sequin fabric accompanied by a matching dress train and chandelier crystal covered snaps.

Beyond the costume and overall reinvention, what ultimately drew us to reinterpret Sargent’s painting was two-fold. We were immediately attracted to the simultaneous strength, grace and femininity in the model’s pose. And secondarily, we knew it was those precise elements that would give us a hybrid gender expression that felt authentic.

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2 thoughts on “More Muse: A Portrait of Madame X

  1. Wow! Your “Muse” series is amazing! I love the Girl with the Pearl Earring too! But the Sargent/Madame X is spectacular. I’ve just written a novel about Singer Sargent during the time he painted Madame X, which sets up exactly “why” this was such a scandalous portrait–it was more about social politics than mere naked skin, though that played a part as well. Also, the novel gets into the then-pretty-much-hidden gender explorations that Sargent and many of his friends (e.g., Oscar Wilde, Henry James) were doing in that fin-de-siecle angst-ridden time. It’s called Portraits of an Artist and will be available in late January 2013 from Sand Hill Review Press. Great work, thanks for the new perspective!

  2. Pingback: Lips, Nips & Gallery Exhibits | James Kinser

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