Dec 13, 2017 in Art

Museums How They Help in Research

A tour to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) in the capital of England termed inspiring in an out of the ordinary way.  According to Carr, Miles & Christman (2001), this facility contains portraits, sculptures, caricatures, photographs, and drawings of important British men and women in the contemporary times and the past. Emphasis is not put on the artists behind the job; rather the importance of the people in the portraits is given priority. It is amazing how much one can learn about art the history of art and dress from NPG. NPG having opened in 1856 has continually received art material over the years to accumulate a resourceful pool of art and dress history. From the art work a design of dress can be derived. The royalty dress style was particularly impressive.

The museum of London turned out another resourceful place to research on the history of art and dress. The museum does not only focus on the people but the art and dress in particular. The museum having been established in 1883 has accumulated artistic and dress materials. The museum has valued paintings from respected artists, sculptures, drawings, carvings, jewels, precious stones, fabrics, royal dresses, and ancient dresses among other materials. The museum of London turned to be one stop shop for artistic and dress research.

The V&A 18th century exhibition focused on the 18th century dress. The experience there gave a candid display of what manner of dress was ideal in the 18th century. In other words, the exhibition recreated in the 18th century was spectacular. There were materials such as silhouettes, Mantua, wigs, gloves, riding, jackets, and petticoats among such other items of dress from the 18th century. Surely, one cannot write about 18th century dress and fashion and fail to mention this exhibition.


The movie Barry Lyndon of 1975 directed by Stanley Kubrick paints to the audience the life in the aristocratic times of Ireland. An Irish lad, Barry lives in destitute but through unscrupulous means rises up the classes to marry the socially elite Lady Lyndon (Falsetto,1996).  This movie gives a vivid description of how people were classified in the old days in Ireland. Consequently, it shows that as a result of this disparity people dressed differently, led different types of lives, and were accorded different treatment. The architecture and art in the past is depicted. The paintings particularly address the art. The manner of dress is best depicted why the royal people dressed flashily as opposed to the peasants who exhibited nondescript fashion. The movie enlightened me on these issues of dress and social stratification in the past.

Dangerous Liaisons by Glenn Close is a movie based in France in the late 18th century. The movie’s plot involves two promiscuous characters; Valmont and Merteuil. These two characters are exhibited as promiscuous and scheming partners. Merteuil’s ex-lover is about to marry another lady (Cecile). She heeds Valmont to seduce her before she is married to her ex-lover so as to humiliate him. Meanwhile Valmont is trying to seduce a married virtuous lady (Tourvel) is his aunt’s guest. However, Valmont on striking a deal with Merteuil agrees but defiles Cecile. Merteuil’s ex-lover returns and goes back to her. Valmont actions are exposed and Merteuil’s ex-lover who was to marry Cecile challenges him for a fight. This fight turns out sour and Valmont is killed. Before dying, he exposes Merteuil to her ex-lover now turned current lover who scandalizes her. This movie gives a clear insight into the lifestyle and dress of the French in the 18th century. Equally, this is a must watch for anybody reaching on the topic of history in art and dress.

Researching and writing:

Researching on this essay is enlightening activity. There are a lot of things that this research has exposed. It is surprising that there is a lot to learn from galleries and the museum. Looking at the images at the NPG for instance, it is possible to see a transition of both art and dress from the 18th century the present. Evidently, art and dress did not stagnant but rather grew and diversified with time. For instance, the range of surfaces on which paintings can be done on has increased. Having seen remarkable similarities between the French and the English people during the 18th century in the movies particularly surprised me. It is a matter that elicits curiosity how people living so far from each other way before the ICT age would exhibit such similarities in culture and dress. For instance, both societies have a stratified society and believe in elitism. I believe art and culture are closely related. I actually found out there are many more artists who I did not know existed whose works are spectacular. Researching on this topic and having to write this essay is such a thrill.


The objective of this research is to come up with a distinct transition of art and dress from the ancient times to the present. I also aim at identifying what stipulated how people dressed or what influenced art. Some of the things that influence or stipulate manner of dress include, class, the type of work or function an individual is involved in, and occasion among others. Art could be influenced by believes, and materials availability of materials among others. I aim at pointing this out.


The main difficulty will be the recreation of the past. The relying on movies, galleries and museums to form this information can be misleading. For instance movies are set in a fixed context which could reflect on just a small portion of the communities involved.

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