Attitudes (Lady Hamilton)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
tableaux vivants, living statue

As Sir William Hamilton's mistress, Emma Hamilton developed what she called her "Attitudes", using George Romney's idea of combining classical poses with modern allure as the basis for her act. This eventual cross between postures, dance, and acting, was first revealed in Spring 1787 by Sir William to a large group of European guests at his home in Naples, who quickly took to this new form of entertainment - guessing the names of the classical characters and scenes which Emma portrayed.

For her "Attitudes", Emma had her dressmaker make dresses modelled on those worn by peasant islanders in the Bay of Naples, and on loose-fitting garments such as she wore when modelling for Romney. The performance was a sensation across Europe. Using a few shawls, she posed as various classical figures from Medea to Queen Cleopatra, and her performances charmed aristocrats, artists such as Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun, writers — including the great Johann Wolfgang von Goethe — and kings and queens alike, setting off new dance trends across Europe and starting a fashion for a draped Grecian style of dress.

Attitudes were taken up by several other (female) artists, among them Ida Brun from Denmark, who became Emmas successor. The famed sculptor Alberto Thorvaldsen admired her art. Attitudes was, of course, a form of "mime art", which disappeared for a long time, only to surface again in the 20th century. Emma developed her Attitudes from mere poses to small, wordless plays - in her later years she excelled as Medea.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Attitudes (Lady Hamilton)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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