Art/ Collection/ Art Object


linen, cotton
Credit Line:
Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1988
Accession Number:
Not on view

The radically different silhouette of the last years of the eighteenth century was intended as an imitation of classical Greek and Roman dress. Basically, a soft, thin chemise of cotton or linen that almost fully revealed the breasts, the Empire gown was not universally embraced, if this uncharitable 1790s evaluation is to be believed: "The bosom, which Nature planted at the bottom of her chest, is pushed up by means of wadding and whalebone to a station so near her chin that in a very full nature that feature is sometimes lost between invading mounds. … were it not for the fine apparel of our ladies we should be at a loss … whether they were nurses or cooks."

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age Of Napoleon," December 13, 1989–April 15, 1990.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infra-Apparel," April 1, 1993–August 8, 1993.

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