Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday Video: The Countess di Castiglione, Queen of the Selfies

Friday, May 6, 2016
Scherzo di Follia (1863-66)
Loretta reports:

A couple of days ago, my husband sent me a link to some photographs of an Italian countess I’d never heard of. She turned out to be well worth hearing about.

Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione, loved having her picture taken—under her command. As a result, we have a photographic treasure trove of mid-Victorian fashion and costume worn by a woman who upends our ideas of what “Victorian” mean.
But then, she was Italian.

I'm not going to tell her story here, because you can read all about her at Wikipedia and especially in this article at Mashable, which includes some splendid photos made under her direction (thus the "selfie" of this post title).

Instead I offer a video. I turned down the music, because it seemed a little overwrought for the subject. You may feel otherwise.

Image: Scherzo di Follia (1863-66)

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be.  To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.


Unknown said...

Years ago, I was walking quickly through a hallway in the photography galleries at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was on my way to meet someone and I was late. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye I saw the first photo in your post.... "Scherzo de Follia". Of course I had to stop. She was identified by name but there was no information about her. I became fascinated with the subject of that portrait. This was long before the internet and it took me a long time to find out about her. Fascinating!
Susan Sobol

Cynthia Lambert said...

I found out about her about thirty years ago because of my interest in early photography. She was certainly a fascinating character, and left a marvelous trove of images as a legacy. Thanks for introducing her to a new audience. Looking through her photos is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket