1770 Isabel Parreno Arce Ruiz de Alarcon y Valdes, Marquesa de Llano by Anton Raphael Mengs (Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid)

Sometimes fashion comes from the lower classes. The Marqusa Llano wears a romanticized version of lower class maja style in this 1770 Mengs work.

Ribeiro uses this picture in Dress in Eighteenth Century Europe, p. 254 (2002) with the caption, "The wife of the Spanish ambassador to the court of Parma is shown here dressed in an elegant version of the maja costume, probably for a masquerade." On page 116 of this book is a closeup of the head and bodice with this caption, "This detail from Mengs' fine portrait of the Marquesa de Llano demonstrates the new appeal of maja costume to the elite. Beneath a black velvet cap, the hair is kept in place by a silk net (a comeback for the escoffion of the 1500s - gogm). The frogged jacket has a decorative reminder, at the shoulders, that the bodice and sleeves of working women were fastened together with ribbons." Maja dress was based on lower class dress; according to Ribeiro in the same book, p. 116, "The maja wore 'a tight jacket' so open before as to form two hanging flaps under the breast, something in the form of wings, with sleeves close to the fist, a short petticoat of any color, a black apron, a striped handkerchief carefully covering the whole net, and the montera exactly such as the man. The seams of both dresses (male and female) are not sewed but kept together by interlacing ribbands.' This was popular dress for masquerades (a reference to this image follows) and, by the 1780s, it had begun to influence the informal deshabille of the Spanish aristocracy, following the general trend in costume in that decade of adopting picturesque versions of working-class dress."

(Note: I did not scan the image from this or any other book. - gogm)

Keywords:  1770, Mengs, Isabel Parreño, Parreño family, de Llano y Musquez family, Marquesa, Spanish, floral hat, escoffion, scoop neckline, jacket, long close sleeves, apron, full skirt, maxi-skirt, necklace, earrings, gloves, shoes, mask, maja style


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