According to the madness that has seduced you

Portrait of the Marchesa Casati by Augustus John

Favourite line so far in the latest AnOther, from a reference to Peggy Guggenheim’s museum  in Venice:

“The palazzo had once been home to another rare bird, the Marchesa Casati, who was a tourist attraction in Venice in the 1910s, walking her pet cheetahs on jewel-encrusted leads nightly throughout the city, nude but for a leopard skin.”

Unbearably intriguing.

You can read more at the Casati Archives, some gems:

“Accompanied by her pet boa constrictor, she checked into the Ritz Hotel in Paris where it escaped….”

“Bizarre wax mannequins sat as guests at her dining table, some of them even rumoured to contain the ashes of past lovers…”

“Nude servants gilded in gold leaf attended her…”

Marchesa Luisa Casati with a Greyhound by Giovanni Boldini

Both the paintings I’ve included here are terribly lovely, but maybe not entirely representative.  Casati was a muse and patron of many avant garde artists, a bit of searching reveals some very dramatic and strange portraits and photographs.

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May 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . art, history.

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