Hand-in-waistcoat

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Napoleon in His Study (1812), exhibiting the hand-in-waistcoat gesture. Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries - Google Art Project 2.jpg
Napoleon in His Study (1812), exhibiting the hand-in-waistcoat gesture.

The hand-in-waistcoat (also referred to as hand-inside-vest, hand-in-jacket, hand-held-in, or hidden hand) is a gesture commonly found in portraiture during the 18th and 19th centuries. The pose appeared by the 1750s to indicate leadership in a calm and firm manner. The pose is most often associated with Napoleon I of France due to its use in several portraits made by his artist, Jacques-Louis David, amongst them the 1812 painting Napoleon in His Study. [1] The pose, thought of as being stately, was copied by other portrait painters across Europe and America. Most paintings and photographs show the right hand inserted into the waistcoat/jacket but some sitters appear with the left hand inserted. The pose was also often seen in mid-nineteenth century photography. [2]

Portrait Artistic representation of one or more persons

A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness, personality, and even the mood of the person. For this reason, in photography a portrait is generally not a snapshot, but a composed image of a person in a still position. A portrait often shows a person looking directly at the painter or photographer, in order to most successfully engage the subject with the viewer.

Jacques-Louis David French Neoclassical painter

Jacques-Louis David was a French painter in the Neoclassical style, considered to be the preeminent painter of the era. In the 1780s his cerebral brand of history painting marked a change in taste away from Rococo frivolity toward classical austerity and severity and heightened feeling, harmonizing with the moral climate of the final years of the Ancien Régime.

Contents

Background

The pose traces back to classical times Aeschines, founder of a rhetoric school, suggested that speaking with an arm outside one's toga was bad manners. [3] Arline Meyer, in her essay "Re-Dressing Classical Statuary: The Eighteenth-Century 'Hand-in-Waistcoat' Portrait," notes the pose being used in eighteenth century British portraiture as a sign of the sitter's breeding. Francois Nivelon's A Book Of Genteel Behavior of 1738 noted the hand-inside-vest pose denoted "manly boldness tempered with modesty." [3]

Aeschines Attic orator; statesman

Aeschines was a Greek statesman and one of the ten Attic orators.

Rhetoric art of discourse

Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. Along with grammar and logic, it is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the capacities of writers or speakers needed to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion" and since mastery of the art was necessary for victory in a case at law or for passage of proposals in the assembly or for fame as a speaker in civic ceremonies, calls it "a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics". Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric or phases of developing a persuasive speech were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.

Appearance in photography

With the invention of photography, the pose continued but may have had an additional purpose in preventing blurring by maintaining the sitter's hand in a single place. The pose is commonly seen in photographs of members of the military, with a number of American Civil War photographs showing the pose, or indicated by three open buttons on a tunic. [4]

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The Civil War is the most studied and written about episode in U.S. history. Primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people, war broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Albrecht Dürer German Renaissance artist

Albrecht Dürer sometimes spelt in English as Durer or Duerer, without umlaut, was a painter, printmaker, and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, and from 1512 he was patronized by Emperor Maximilian I. Dürer is commemorated by both the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches.

Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal Portuguese noble and diplomat

Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, 1st Marquis of Pombal, 1st Count of Oeiras, popularly known as Marquis of Pombal, was an 18th-century Portuguese statesman. He was Secretary of the State of Internal Affairs of the Kingdom in the government of Joseph I of Portugal from 1750 to 1777. Undoubtedly the most prominent minister in the government, he is considered to have been its de facto head. Pombal is notable for his swift and competent leadership in the aftermath of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. He implemented sweeping economic policies in Portugal to regulate commercial activity and standardise quality throughout the country, and was instrumental in weakening the grip of the Inquisition. The term Pombaline is used to describe not only his tenure, but also the architectural style adopted in Lisbon after the great earthquake.

Johann Hinrich Gossler German banker

Johann Hinrich Gossler was a German banker and grand burgher of Hamburg, a member of the Hanseatic Berenberg/Gossler banking dynasty and the owner and head of the firm Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co.. He was married to Elisabeth Berenberg (1749–1822), the only heir of the Berenberg banking family. Gossler Islands in Antarctica are named in honour of his family.

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References

  1. Meyer, Arline (March 1995). "Re-dressing classical statuary: The eighteenth-century `Hand-in-Waistcoat' portrait". Art Bulletin. 77 (1): 45–63.
  2. Uwe Fleckner, "Napoleons Hand in der Weste: von der ethischen zur politischen Rhetorik einer Geste' ['Napoleon's hand in the waistcoat: from the ethical to the political rhetoric of a gesture'] Daidalos 64 (June 1997), 122-29
  3. 1 2 Holmberg, Tom. "Why is Napoleon depicted with his hand in his coat?". The Napoleon Series. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  4. "Why Did Men Thrust Their Right Hand into Their Jackets in Old Photographs?". Imponderable. Retrieved March 20, 2015.