Painting: An Interior at a Fancy Dress Ball

I have a lot of friends talking about getting ready to go to Venice for Carnevale and that reminded me of a painting I saw when I was in Dublin last summer.  I only had a short time to run through the National Gallery of Ireland but my quick run through was well worth it.  One of my favorites was this painting because there were so many wonderful 18th Century costumes - Matthias Schiffer's "An Interior at a Fancy Dress Ball" 1777. 

This was a large painting so I only zeroed in on particular costumes that I liked.  You can see the painting in it's entirety on the National Gallery of Ireland's website.

One thing I thought was interesting is that no one is wearing a mask!  And I did't see anyone holding one either, as you often do in 18th Century paintings.  I wonder, is there a difference between a "fancy dress" ball and a masquerade?  

I love her polonaise and his tasseled walking stick!
I thought it was interesting too that many of the outfits don't actually look all that much different from other things we see people wearing in the 18th century.  What makes the outfits of the two ladies below "fancy dress" versus regular ball ensembles?

Who says you can't wear a hat to a ball?
It looks like someone couldn't find a sitter for the night!  But seriously, is the boy a page boy there to hold her train?  Or relay messages?  So many questions...

That kid is all "This is so boring, kill me now."
These folks all look a bit more "in costume" than some of the others, you can see a couple in "Turkish" dress as well as what looks like a renaissance costumed man.

I may be wrong but it looks like the Turkish lady is wearing harem pants!!

Here is a close up of some of the dancers.  A few of them look more obviously "in costume" as well.

Interesting to see how closely they are all dancing!
Anyway, I hope you liked the painting as much as I did!


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