December 22, 2011

Art Inspired: Raphael, Madonna Della Sedia


In college, I went off to painting school in Florence. That part was pretty much a wash--there was little to no instruction, structure, or direction. But we had our mornings free, and I'd religiously stop in on my way to class and spend one or two contented hours within the walls of the Uffizi Gallery. It was like being in a heavenly candy store of art, surrounded by Michaelangelo's David and Pieta of Palestina, Botticelli's Primavera and The Birth of Venus, Titian's Venus of Urbino, Tintoretto's Leda and the Swan, the more disturbing statue of Leda, and da Vincis, Caravaggios, Brunelleschis, Cellinis, Giambolognas and Donatellos everywhere you turned. So much drama, color and life in these works, and yet I always found myself drawn at the end of my morning to a smaller {by comparison} round painting housed in the most ornate frame I'd ever seen. It was so serene and peaceful compared to everything else in the museum, and I was fascinated with the light but rich pinks, blues and golds emerging from the deepest of blacks. I'd marvel over the brush strokes swirled in the black background and on the eyes, the dots on the pupils--details that to this day, still don't translate in a print or digital image.

Raphael died at the age of 37, but in that short period of time, he was extremely influential, forming the trinity with da Vinci and Michaelangelo of great Renaissance masters of that time. The Madonna della Sedia dates to c. 1513-1514 and is from Raphael's final 'Roman period,' his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome when he worked for two Popes.


I took some liberties with this week's art inspired fashion post, but I hope that I kept the tone intact: comfort, beauty, and a feeling of great calm--the sort of emotions that are hard to capture in art, much less fashion.

Merry Merry everyone! Hoping that you will be spending this holiday with friends and family, reflecting on all the good things in your life!

Details: Ralph Lauren Olive Shawl Collar Wrap Cardigan Combo $1,456; Missoni Wave Criss-Cross Chunky Knit Cardigan $805; Theyskens' Theory Sinon Printed Maxi Skirt $751; Faliero Sarti 'gary' scarf $360; Mary Jo Matsumoto Pacific Coast Highway Nail Color Collection Emerald Bay $14; Wet Sand $14; Diptyque candles $80 each; Michael Michael Kors Black Glazed Python Sophia T-strap Shoes $173; Mulberry Black Postman Lock Travel Bag $2,215; Nars Honolulu Honey Satin lipstick; Eugenia Kim Camel Catherine Velour Felt Hat $274.


Antonia said...

The whole look is wonderful!
Your shoes are faaaantastic!! :)


Alexis Grace said...

Sounds like (other than the classes) you had an amazing experience in Florence.

I have been to the Uffizi Gallery and have been utterly transfixed.

As for the outfit, it feels like something I would wear strolling the streets of Florence--- great picks!

Dyan said...

wow, i didn't know you went to painting school in italy! what a wonderful experience to have had and now we reap the benefits of all your art history knowledge. :)

love this look too!

Josie said...

This is SUCH beautiful inspiration. And I love the cape that you chose!
xo Josie

lucia m said...


Not Just A Pretty Dress said...

What a beautiful art post! I'm glad you had such a great time in my country and that Raffaello painting is very close to my heart as, when I was little, I use to have a print of that masterpiece in my bedroom. Loved the outfit and accessories, especially the jacket. Mary Jo, I wish you a wonderful Christmas!

Style Servings said...

Such a beautiful look, really great style!

creativefashionglee said...

I love your outfit board. I heart both the jacket and the scarf. :)

Little Rus said...

I love it when outfits and storied merge into one. Beautiful post!
Hope you are feeling better, darling.
Wishing you a magical Christmas!

Couture Carrie said...

Love the Uffizi!
Gorgeous inspiration and look!

Merry Christmas, darling!


Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh I love that travel bag and the cardigan is so pretty!I sure hope that you are feeling better and can enjoy the holidays.I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very Blessed New Year!!

Cafe Fashionista said...

I have to say, Mary Jo...I think this may be my favorite set out of all that you have created. There is something so effortless and elegant about it - love! :)

Maria V said...

A bit jealous (in a good way) of you attending painting school in Italy! :)

Love how you translated painting into a modern look! Great idea:)

Also, Tumblr - yes, I was thinking of getting an account but.. too much work. Blog, Twitter, FB... but if I ever will open one - I'll make sure to follow you darling!

Merry Christmas and Happy New 2012 Year!

Your newest follower:)

dimitri said...

This painting is absolutely beautiful.
Your selection is so pretty Mary Jo.
Lovely hat and shoes.

Alena: Oh, It's Just Perfect! said...

I lived in Florence too :) Ahh...what a beautiful city and you have me missing it right now! All the amazing art and beautiful people.

Have a wonderful Holiday Mary Jo!

xo said...

Love your look today and I hope there where all kinds of wonderful thing you were able to do, with that spare time .....?? (Italian men are amazing)
Love the painting!!!!!


classiq said...

I remember my visit to the Uffizi Gallery 4 years ago. We stayed for only 3 days in Florence and my regret was that I couldn't visit it more than once. I'm looking forward to going back.
Mary Jo, I wish you a wonderful Christmas! xo

Glam Fashionista said...

Hi Mary Jo , I just got some alone time as I am with my family to celebrate christmass. Thank you so much for the winning. Unfortunately I will not be able to receive the spanks legging and would love to give it as a christmass gift to the someone else from both of us. Let me know who do you think should we choose to give it to. Then we can sign both names on the gift.
I love the paint you have here on the post and the choice of an outfit beautiful.

annechovie said...

I loved Florence, too, Mary Jo.
Wishing you the very best of holidays and a wonderful 2012! xx

yiqin; said...

that skirt is AMAZING

Alexa said...

Just loving your description of Florence. I lived there for 3 months and wish I was there now, especially for the holidays...the best! xo

Chuck said...

Oh, I do like Florence. Love this outfit too.

Style Diary Of A Fashion Fanatic said...

Merry Christmas to you!!!
LOVE this post!!!
the Diptyque candles; my jasmine scented candle is burning right now.. :-)

Bravoe Runway said...

Happy Holidays Mary Jo! I had no idea you once had the chance to study drawing in Italy. I'd love to visit someday! Hopefully it'll be soon.

design elements said...


Merry X mas to you, Mary Jo! wishing you much love, happiness and kindness around you

warm hugs


Michelle's Style File said...

Beautiful inspired combo!


Michelle's Style File said...

Beautiful inspired combo!


Eleni said...

Merry sparkling Christmas Mary Jo!
Hope you have a great time with beloved ones =)
xoxo, Eleni

Callie Grayson said...

Gorgeous!! I too loved to stroll through the museum while not in class to soak in all the inspiration. Florence was truly magical!!

kristina said...

i just love all of your picks ~ that bag is phenom!!
xx, k

Sarah Klassen said...

I really like what you've done, Mary Jo... those shoes and candles must come home with me :)


genuinstyle said...

I absolutely love Renaissance paintings. That painting is so beautiful!

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