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Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the Eighteenth Century (Metropolitan Museum of Art) Hardcover – April 17, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Museum of Art; First Edition / First Printing edition (April 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300107145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300107142
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 9.3 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #328,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

During the reigns of Louis XV and XVI, fashion and furniture in France were not designed simply to be beautiful—they were also intended to arouse, attract, and seduce. This alluring book considers the interplay of French clothing and interior design in the eighteenth century and features full-color photographs from the acclaimed Metropolitan Museum exhibition.

 

About the Author

Harold Koda is Curator in Charge and Andrew Bolton is Associate Curator of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mimi Hellman is Assistant Professor of Art History at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York.



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Customer Reviews

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The close-up photographs of details were also wonderful.
Elizabeth A. Manners
A must for anyone interested in the 18th century, art history, France, or period costume.
Boufflers63
The costumes are exquisite, and the arrangements of 'scenes' are fun and intriguing.
Falconara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Huston on May 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I was young, I read a biography for children about the tragic Marie Antoinette, last queen of France, and found myself enthralled by the exquisite decorative arts of the time. It was a culture that viewed that every surface and substance was an opportunity to embellish and use. Sometimes the end results were overblown, but also managed to stay on the edge of good taste.

In 2002, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City went through its extensive collections, and assembled a collection of rooms, clothing, everyday objects, and put them together to recreate a lost world of glamour and intrigue. Organized around a sensationalistic novella of manners and seduction, La Maison Petit by Jean-Francois de Bastide, the exhibit took the idea that the setting created by the aristocratic and well-to-do in eighteenth century France was not just to create a world of beauty, but one that was also meant to seduce the senses and aid in the game of sex and manners that undercut the entertainment and pastimes of the upper classes.

For the exhibition, the Met took the existing French rooms that were on exhibit in their Decorative Arts galleries. Filled with the items to be found in drawing rooms, then mannikins were dressed in the period clothing -- all from the museums' extensive collection in the Costume Institute -- and then assembled in scenes of daily life. The viewer, both in the exhibition and in the catalog then becomes the voyeur, peeking into this shadowy world of delights, and just a touch of decadence.

Each room of the exhibit depicts an aspect of aristocratic life, with figures engaging in conversation, getting dressed, making music, playing (or rather, cheating) at cards, two lovers being spied upon, among other activities.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Glenn R. Urbanas on March 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Illustrating a modest but very memorable exhibition by the Costume Institute of NYC's Metropolitan Museum in the spring of 2005, this title represents its sumptuous late-bloom - a very aesthetically pleasing catalogue. About twenty-five beautifully dressed be-wigged mannequins - posed to illustrate scenes from the famous 1782 novel 'Les Liasons dangereuses' - are arranged in conversational groups among the furnishings of the French period rooms at the Met. The exquisite final flowering of late 18th c. French costume before the Revolution are shown in all their charming elegance of textile & embroidery. The photographs of the exhibition mannequins, including many details, are interspersed with colour reproductions of period paintings that tend to illustrate & augment the exhibition. The book would make a superb gift, a fine coffee table ornament, & its worth every penny of its 30 dollar list price but it's a steal at any sort of a remainder discount for those with a love of the 'Enlightened' period when France was the world's arbiter of taste in science and culture (if not commerce) when the ex-army officer Chaderlos de Laclos wrote his unexcelled epistolary novel - a novel that no less than four late 20th c. film directors have attempted to capture on screen & each time without success and which many consider the finest French novel before Proust. There are a few other titles that may be considered in the same category - 'The Elegant Art' 1983 LA Mus of Art, the Williamsburg Costume catalog of 1986, and the exceptional catalog published ten years ago by the Kyoto Costume Institute - The only fault I can find with 'Dangerous Liaisons' is the lack of technical detail - just how were those minute pleats tucked and stitched anyway?
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Boufflers63 on April 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Dangerous Liaisons, Fashion and Furniture in the 18th century, is the companion book to an exhibit by the same name that was shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004. Consisting of the museum's collection of 18th century French period rooms, the exhibit was brought to life by mannequins dressed in actual period clothes and set up in the rooms themselves. Although the wait for an exhibit catalogue was long, this book was well worth the wait. The text is wonderful, and is supplemented by beautiful plates of both period paintings and engravings and shots of the exhibit itself. A must for anyone interested in the 18th century, art history, France, or period costume. Once you've read it, put in the DVD of the 1988 Dangerous Liaisons with John Malkovich and Glenn Close; the exhibit comes to life on your tv!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dominic on August 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a book you will enjoy. It will appeal to anyone interested in decorative arts in France between 1750 and 1789. The fashion focuses on dress and its aesthetic interplay with art, furniture, and the decorative arts of the period. Presented in a dramatic setting, the beautiful pictures of the Metropolitan Museum exhibition explore the dressed body's spatial negotiation of the 18th-century interior as a choreography of seduction and erotic play.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Caramagno on June 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Beautiful full color photographs of the Met's Louis XIV's clothing collection and furniture. Manequines are dressed in beautiful originals and posed in drawing rooms and boudoirs in real life poses, flirting, playing piano, having their hair done, playing cards. The photographs are very well done, clear and the detail pieces will be a boon to any costumer. I highly recommend this book for costumers and other historical clothing buffs.
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