A Gallery in Madrid Goes Rococo Vogue for Fashion

Is fashion art? Those three words alone can ignite a casual discussion between artists and designers into a free-for-all. The Vogue Like a Painting exhibition in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid has been putting an end to this age long debate by seamlessly intertwining the two mediums.

The exhibit features an array of photos taken by sixty different fashion photographers that have been influenced by classic modes of painting. All of the images have been handpicked from the Vogue Magazine archives and are paired side-by-side with illustrations that hark on the Renaissance and Rococo styles.

“Vogue was the forerunner of fashion photography in the 1920s, it began to replace illustrated front covers with photographic images by revolutionary artists like Edward Steichen," Yolanda Sacristán, Editor-in-Chief of Spanish Vogue, said in a statement. “It was he, together with other great Vogue photographers—principally Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst and Irving Penn—who transformed the genre into an exceptional art form, paving the way for modern photography."

By jumping from photographs to paintings, the show perfectly depicts how related fashion photography is to its canvased counterpart. The beautifully blurred silhouettes displayed in some of the artwork compliment the sharp lines and shadows that are seen in the photos. Although the pictures were all used for fashion articles in the past, it can be difficult to distinguish them from the paintings. Both make use of gorgeous watercolor-like textures, which gives them an almost surreal aesthetic.

This gallery is a beautiful commemoration of the fathers of modern fashion photography and marvelously reveals the cross-over between art and fashion. Honestly, if Shia LeBeouf can put a bag over his head and call it art, how could these masterfully taken photographs be anything less?

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum will host this exhibit until October 12th.

Photos by Clifford Coffin, Paolo Roversi, and Erwin Olaf.

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