Countess Virginia Oldoini Verasis di Castiglione (1835–1899)
Albumen silver print from glass negative
Image: 5.4 x 7.5 cm (2 1/8 x 2 15/16 in.)
Mount: 6.8 x 8.6 cm (2 11/16 x 3 3/8 in.)
Mat: 35.6 x 27.9 cm (14 x 11 in.)
Gilman Collection, Gift of The Howard Gilman Foundation, 2005
Not on view
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso TC: "90 [boxed]" (upside down)
Baron de Bourgoing; Maurice Levert; (Pescheteau-Badin, Godeau & Leroy, Paris, January 28, 1995, lot 90); Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York
Musée d'Orsay. "La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess Castiglione," October 11, 1999–January 23, 2000.
Palazzo Cavour, Turin. "Countess of Castiglione," March 30, 2000–July 2, 2000.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess Castiglione," September 18, 2000–December 31, 2000.
Apraxine, Pierre, and Xavier Demange. La Divine Comtesse: Photographs of the Countess de Castiglione. New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. no. cat. 84, p. 150 (this print).
After her eyes, arms, shoulders, and legs, the Countess decided to celebrate her feet. Wearing white stockings and Greek cothurnes, revamped in the fashion of the day -- possibly the pair she wore for the first time with her Queen of Etruria costume -- she had her left foot photographed on a low stool. She was apt to take her shoes off in company (at the Delessert residence, or with the James de Rothschilds) and expose her bare feet to the admiring glances of the mere mortals assembled around her.
These two painted photographs (2005.100.397-.398) are cropped from larger negatives (62/200 and 63/300), part of a series of eleven poses known as "The Assassination." Two unpainted prints can be found in the Montesquiou album (1975.548.95). The two Gilman photographs are probably from the collection of Baron Philippe de Bourgoing (1828-1882), the Bonapartist deputy and inspector of Napoleon III's stud farms (Tulard, 1995, p. 208). [PA; "La Divine Comtesse", p. 185]
See similar print of the other foot from Gilman Paper Company Collection with which this print is mounted (second modern mount) and shown (2005.100.398). [Alteveer/IFA]