Opera Dancer (Danceuse de l'Opera)

Jean Mariette French
After Jean Berain French

Not on view

Etching and engraving with an opera dancer in costume, created by Jean Mariette, possibly after Jean I Berain. Entrusted with drawings for costumes, stage sets, and royal ceremonies at the 'Academie Royale de la Musique' since 1680, Berain's ingenious creations took acanthus and laurel leaves, palmettes and grotesques, mixing them with dancers, acrobats, monkeys and satyrs, to create his own, imaginative, theatrical world. His designs were multiplied and disseminated by means of engravings, his design motifs and manner objects becoming highly influential in the closing years of the seventeenth century. This print was, like many of his designs, possibly designed for his costumes for the performances of the Royal Academy of Music.

The plate presents a woman seen full-length, wearing a long gown made up of a tight bodice with horizontal stripes and large, round pearls along the collar and down the front of the chest, and long, full skirt with a double border made up of roundels of pearls that enclose jeweled lozenges, and a stripe overskirt, which can be seen under the long strips of fabric that hang from the peplum of the bodice, bordered with strips of ruffled fabric. The sleeves are double, and wide: bell-shaped, elbow-length sleeves with fringed borders over full-length, striped, wide sleeves. The hair is pulled back, covered by a cone-shaped hat with lozenges and pearls, and a veil hanging from the back, and an embellished comb (?) above her forehead. A pearl necklace is wrapped around her neck. She dances in an interior with columns, holding castanettes in her hands.

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