Dress and Identity in Art

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June 03, 2016

New Special Topics Course for Fall 2016
TRDA 4595.10:  Dress and Identity in Art    M/W 3:45–5:00 pm

There are still spaces left. Register today!

Since the sixteenth century, fashionable dress and appearance have been related to the circulation of ideas about self and society and have served as abstractions representing nobility and authority.  Displays of dress can communicate belonging, but also resistance.  This course traces the depiction of fashionable dress in paintings from the Renaissance through to the emergence of photography and film, when fashionable dress becomes mainstream phenomenon.  We will explore how designers have borrowed from historical eras, translating retro trends into fashionable dress, and the transposing of synthesized imagery into new works of art; how dress is turned into fashion by its mere representation; and how fashionable dress can conspire with utopian ideals found in other art forms, such as architecture, and through its depiction can serve as an instrument of propaganda.  Discussions of celebrities, artists and images imbedded in the fashion system, such as Louis XIV, John Singer Sargeant, the little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Helmut Newton and the ordered fashions of The Hunger Games enrich our discourse.

For more information please contact:

Professor Tanya Wetenhall  twetenhall@gwu.edu