Living The Seasons

This week’s photo challenge is to interpret “intricate” and for that, I’d like to share one of my favorite paintings at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. This is Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein. According to the placard, the picture was to be “a lasting record of their youth, status, good sense and fashion taste”.

Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

Isn’t she just gorgeous? I can look at this picture for hours. The painting is so detailed and intricate! Here’s a close-up of her face and hair. Look at how the curls wrap around her pearls!

Face close-up of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Face close-up of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

Look at the detail of her fingernails and all the frills around her bodice:

Shoulder and hand of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Shoulder and hand of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

Lastly, here’s a close-up of the dress itself:

Skirt of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Skirt of Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

Even the frame is intricate:

Isn’t it incredible? I love looking at her each time we go to the museum.

A number of you commented on how you enjoyed being able to read the placards from the museum. I agree – there’s a lot of good information on them. The curators do a great job of telling us what we’re looking at, so here it is:

Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia
Lydia Schabelsky, Baroness Staël-Holstein at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia

I don’t know how many hours it took to do this and presumably Lydia sat for all of it, although for the dress part, she could easily have had a maid sit there for hours.

To see what others did for the photo challenge, click here.

26 Replies to “Portrait of Lydia Schabelsky”

  1. Definitely intricate! I can’t paint to save my life (I can get away with a stick figure or two in an emergency) so I truly appreciated not only the beauty of the painting but your interesting narrative. Niceness!

  2. What an Awesome post and an absolutely beautiful portrait Nancy. The intricacy is gorgeous. I havent been to a museum since college. I miss it! Thank you for sharing!

  3. What a beautiful (and yes, intricate) portrait, Nancy. I can see why you would want to stand and stare at it. You photographed it so well, too, so that we can see all the details. :)

    1. I didn’t. I went to the Arts & Flowers exhibit too. Was there a placard somewhere or a link on their site?

      And yes, it is a fantastic picture. So is the Arts and Flowers. I plan to go back on a rainy day to see it again.

          1. I got it – thank you so much! That was beautiful. I did see those around the museum. We must not have gone by the portrait for that visit though. Thanks so much for digging it out and sharing!

            Now I’m trying something new to see if I can add it into this reply.

  4. I love how the dress is painted. It’s as if the most intricate parts are there….by not painting it. If that makes sense. That’s what it feels like. Great pictures Nancy. Great choice.

  5. Oh, I LOVE that portrait! It’s full of beautiful detail. I can only imagine how long it took to paint that. What a great take on this challenge!

  6. That really is an amazing portrait, Nancy. It almost looks like a photograph in its intricacy! I love the dress, all those delicate frills, and the way her hair curls around the pearls. Wonderful. You did a great job of photographing it as well. And the frame is magnificent too! When I return home and go back to Richmond, I’ll have to drop by and look at it in person. Is it part of their permanent collection? :-)

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