Met exhibit reveals fashion’s influence on Impressionism

A well-executed portrait that depicts its subject clothed in the latest fashion can be even more revealing than the most luscious nude.

“Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity,” a new exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, turns a fresh eye to the dialogue between fashion and Impressionist art created between 1860 and 1880. This results in a renewed appreciation for—and understanding of—many of the classic and beloved paintings that punctuate the movement.

The exhibit, which debuted in Paris with a record-breaking volume of nearly 500,000 visitors, hosts many of the most influential and well-loved Impressionist paintings from around the world, many in New York for the first time.

The works on display pay homage to dress, which has the unique ability to instantly reveal details about the sitter’s social status, personality, financial situation, and era. Especially in portraiture—where the artist’s task is to encapsulate his subject in a single moment—knowing the latest

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