Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Agnolo Brozini’s Lady in Green

For a while I thought that the 1885 reception dress from last week might become the second Rate the Dress ever to score a perfect 10, but alas, while most of you adored the mix of saucy and prim, not all of you adored the mix of brocade, satin and fur, so the dress scored an excellent, but not perfect, 9.3 out of 10.

I’ve realised that I have neglected the early Renaissance in these Rate the Dresses, so this week is partly to rectify that.  An early Rate the Dress featuring a Renaissance lady (also in green) by Titian rated well.  How will you feel about Brozini’s Lady in Green?

Agnolo Bronzino's Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress, c1528-32, Royal Collection, Windsor

Agnolo Bronzino's Portrait of a Lady in a Green Dress, c1528-32, Royal Collection, Windsor

Early reproductions of the painting show the unknown Lady in Green against a muted red brown background with a dull green dress, but recent conservation has revealed the vivid green dress, the rich red background, and the palest gold of the slashed sleeves and ribbon trim.  Under the dress the lady wears a chemise decorated with delicate blackwork, and her red hair is complemented by an elaborately embellished gold and green coif.  She also has lace trim on her sleeves, a ring on her pointer finger, and a bit of gauzy fabric in her hands (or perhaps she holds gloves, and time has rendered the leather translucent).

What do you think?  Is the green too much?  Are the sleeves too much?  Or is the balance of smooth and textured, simple and elaborate the perfect mix?

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10.


  1. Courtney F. says

    The dress is beautiful. I’d give it a 9. But the woman in it is kind of scary–is it just me, or do her eyes look like they’re turning red? “There is no Lady in a Green Dress…only Zuul…”

  2. I think the woman looks really modern, which has to do with the style of painting I’m sure, but she looks like someone I’d see down at the grocery or in the street.

    I like the dress- cartridge pleating, slashing, blackwork… Be still my heart. 10

  3. Elizabeth says

    I’d give this dress a 9. I’m not a fan of any style that has such voluminous sleeves, however the colors are gorgeous and I just LOVE the blackwork camicia! I really love the low neckline of the dress with the high necked camicia.

  4. Courtney M says

    As a renaissance re-enactor, I LOVE this dress! It’s beautiful, simple, elegant – and the portrait shows the details beautifully. I’ll definitely rate it a 10!

  5. She is disturbingly modern eh. Looks like a real person not remade in the fashion of the time. He is a great portraitist indeed.
    I really like this. I have a real soft spot for the style of this period. Something about the higher waist and huge sleeves that just works for me, not sure why. I like the bold simplicity of it – the ribbon overlay and the blackwork, the cartridge pleats. The only thing I’m not so sure about it the slashed lower sleeve, it seems a texture too far. But only just. 9.5 🙂 And who can ever deny a red head emerald green? Our delicious Emily looks ravishable in that colour too!

  6. I LOVE the blackwork chemise – for that alone it would be 10 (or, rather, 15 or something), but like MrsC, I’m not keen on the lower sleeves – much less keen than her, I’m afraid. But the rest of it is just lovely enough, and I also love her headdress (how is that thing constructed, I wonder?). So, overall, probably a 9.

    (BTW, I originally made a typo and wrote “LOSER sleeves”. Ahem)

  7. I give it an 8.5. I like the colors, but I prefer northern countries when it comes to the renaissance. Italy just doesn’t really do it for me. I like the blackwork, the colors, the lower sleeves, don’t like the upper sleeves, and the fact that I am now convinced she is a member of the Volturi (har har).

  8. Hmm I give it a 6. At first look, I like it, but then when I break it down I don’t know why. I’m not a fan of massive sleeves from any period, and I think they go weirdly with the slashed sleeves (which I normally love, but not so much here). The neckline looks like it’s falling off her, and I’m not keen on the really gathered camicias like that (though the blackwork is delice!). The colour is gorgeous. Maybe that redeems it a lot!

    As for the woman, she’s amazing! I think she was making witty, possibly sarcastic, comments throughout the sitting. ^^

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  9. I liked the faded green of the pre-restoration original more, I admit, but since she is a redhead like me the brighter shade has its charms.

    As for the wide sleeves, they look really good on some people; it depends on one’s height and build (and we can’t know much of that from the lap-upwards painting). There’s something school-marmish about the combination of wide sleeves and high-necked partlet, but I rather like that too, and it suits the sitter. I’d say 9. (I’d say 10, but the dress is obviously high-waisted, and that might be a bit much with the wide sleeves).

  10. Paul Miller says

    Her face and even the brush strokes remind me of some of Wyeth’s Helga paintings. I like the version where the green looks vivid and I love all the detailing on the dress, although overall, I find the style cumbersome and unappealing in silhouette. I give it a 6.5

  11. I have to rate it a 6. I love the blackwork. I like the gold ribbon trim. I don’t like the silhouette or the lower sleeves. The ensemble just makes her look un-proportionate, I think. I don’t generally like such a bright emerald green, but it does look wonderful with her coloring.

    I was going to go with a 7, but the neckline really bothers me. There’s a strange mix of her pose being straight on, or turned to the right that is inconsistent. So, the blackwork is turned, but the neckline is straight-on, which makes it look like an ill-constructed, deformed dress.

    I do love Bronzino’s style. She looks incredibly realistic and modern.

Comments are closed.