Artibus et Historiae no. 65 (XXXIII)

2012, ISSN 0391-9064

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MICKA√čL BOUFFARD - Aristocratic Standing and the Five Positions of French Noble Dance in Portraiture

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, dancing masters had a central role in educating European aristocrats in matters related to genteel behavior. The five positions of French noble dance, originally invented for the purposes of choreography, became common ideals of posture both in society and in full-length portraiture. Breaking with previous postural traditions in art, French manners introduced new attitudes for the human figure. In swagger portraiture, a genre whose purpose was to praise the qualities and status of the sitter, the five positions came to serve as markers of nobility and good breeding, and thus contributed to the aesthetic concept of aristocratic life.

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