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Title: Leandro Preziosi : portrait photographer and the art of dress in the second half of nineteenth century Malta
Authors: Tonna, Caroline
Keywords: Photography -- Malta -- History -- 19th century
Portrait photography -- Malta -- History -- 19th century
Clothing and dress -- Malta -- History -- 19th century
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: This study is divided into five parts. Chapter 1 gives a broad introduction on the inception of photography in France and England and on how a few years later this new art form was introduced in Malta. It goes on to provide an overview of the local political and economic environment of the mid-nineteenth century and how these changes were reflected in Leandro’s portraits of elite women in their art of dress. This chapter also discusses English influences on the changing fashions of the time. It explores how the Maltese adopted and adapted these modern European fashion trends while continuing to preserve the use of the faldetta in everyday life. Chapter 2 seeks to construct a biographical narrative on the life of Leandro Preziosi and how he elevated the art of photography to an accepted and appreciated art form. During Leandro’s short career in professional portrait photography, he had a fully-fledged studio that produced thousands of high quality portraits. Chapter 3 zooms into Leandro’s female elite portraits, some of which are compared to those of Camille Silvy, a renowned French photographer in London. The comparison serves to map out similarities and differences in the portraiture of the two artist photographers’ work and subsequently comparison is even drawn on the art of dress of their sitters. The delicacy and splendor of lace in the art of dress is also highlighted in Leandro’s portraits. Chapter 4 continues to survey the elegance, modesty, morality and modernity in the art of dress represented in Leandro’s portrait photographs. It also gives attention to jewellery and hairdressing as an integral part of the art of dress. Chapter 5 presents other works of Leandro’s portraiture that include men, children, prominent people and artistes. The late 1860s European fabrics, style and taste in the art of dress became more conspicuous in the photographs as the century developed. The general conclusion presents the results of this study and explains how evidence from early portrait photographs could help us better understand how the Maltese elite women followed the European fashion and added their own taste to it. Their art of dress embodied the constraints of correctness and modesty as well as the desire for luxury and finery in their art of dress.
Description: M.A.HIST.OF ART
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArt - 2017
Dissertations - FacArtHa - 2017

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