Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Salome by Cranach the Elder

Alas, last week’s Worth ensemble got no love, despite it’s universally popular peacock blue colour.  The proportions were deamed to be totally off, and the dress received a 4.5 out of 10.

This week, we look at another frock that may have proportional problems.  Lucas Cranach the Elder, for all of his skills, isn’t noted for his anatomically accurate representations of the female physique.  Whether his depictions of their fashions is any more accurate is unknown, so we shall just have to rate 16th century German dress on what he chose to show us.

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Salome with the Head of St John the Baptist, 1530s

Cranach paints that favourite 16th century German subject: the biblical temptress Salome carrying the gruesome trophy that her charms and wiles won her.  Rather than wearing biblical dress, Salome wears a gown of the 1530s in dark rust red with gold trim, elaborate sleeves, a lavish assortment of gold necklaces, and a rather rakish feather adorned wreath.

Salome’s less than appealing accessory aside, how do you feel about her frock?  Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10.


  1. Oh! This is one of those Cranachs where the model wears the one and only dress! He only seemed to paint one dress, with maybe a few minor changes. It is a very odd painting, sort of awry. Hard to imagine Salome doing any kind of dance in a velvet 1530’s dress like that. A pavane perhaps at best. In spite of all this giggling, I do like The Dress, I have a print out of a different painting on my inspiration wall. Total sucker for warm reds and textures and focused detail, and the relatively simple shape with the slashed sleeves is a great look. I made a bunch of dresses not unlike this for a production of Romeo and Juliet once, using mostly corduroy stencilled with gold paint- looks amazing on stage where things work better when they are larger than life.
    Anyway, I give it an 8.5, because it is not the best example of The Cranach Dress, but I still love it!

  2. Have to agree with Mrs. C. I am a sucker for the rust red colour too. I like this dress, and I am imagining it is velvet with gold thread embroidery. I like the sleeves too, all that detail, I would love to have a go at making them. 8 outa 10 for me.

  3. I like the dress, including the color and ornamentation–except for the fact that the neckline is cut so low as to be ugly, never mind indecent. I understand the point of it–Salome is by tradition supposed to be a siren, of sorts. But it doesn’t make for as nice a dress as does having the neckline higher, with or without the sheer partlet. So I give it only a 7. Sigh.

  4. It’s really nice without being blow-me-away stunning. The sleeves are fab and the skirt is quite pretty. Loving the rust and gold colours. 7.5/10

  5. All of Cranach’s allegory paintings (Judith/Salome) kind of gross me out, but I love the dresses.

    I wish St. John’s head wasn’t in the way of the bodice, because it looks like it might be interesting based on the patterns to the side. Overall, though, from what we can see, this one is just kind of average when it comes down to the Cranach dress.

    I give it an 8, because I love the upper sleeve detailing. (I don’t think I could give any Cranach dress < a 7 though)

  6. I’m sorry – don’t you have the century really, really off? This is not gothic 14th century…

    Cranach dresses are just fantastic, and the rest of Cranach’s paitings are never, I think. This coming from a big, big lover of Albrecht Dürer (whose paintings I love about as much as J.R.R Tolkien’s writing, if that explains something), so… 😀
    I’m not fond of those big golden chains, neither of the feather in her hair, and I have to agree with MrsC that this is not the best Cranach dress out there, but I also haveto agree with Rae – no Cranach dress deserves less than a 7. The 8,5 looks fair.

  7. I love the fall of the folds on the skirt reminds me of a Sari, but the bodice and everything else just has me wondering if the model had a hunchback? 7.

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