Michael Allen Lowe
the work
the artist
current show
"The Dress Maids"  47" x 30.5" Oil on Canvas

A Henry Fuseli illustration from the Rivington Shakespeare
edition of
The Merry Wives of Windsor, c.1805, sets the
stage for this narrative.  Lowe chose to use this reference in
order to make a commentary on the social norms of
Marriage of the time.  Lowe, again, touches on the
masculine identity of control and power over his
environment.  Fuseli often exaggerated the scale of the male
figure in an environment such as this, dwarfing the physical
stature of females.  The original illustration portrays the dainty women, the
'merry wives,' entertaining Falstaff’s advances.  Lowe has spliced a partial
portrait of Anthony Van Dyck’s
Marie de Raet to the grotesque torso of Falstaff.  
Lowe is clearly attempting to portray a commonality in the companion portrait
of the young sixteen year old bride (Raet) and the thematic issues found in the
play.  Lowe takes several departures from both original works.  The merry wives
are now dress maids in Lowe’s work.  Once brandishing buck horns, (a symbol
for female infidelity) the figure-ground now wields an ostrich feathered fan, as
does the young Raet.  Lowe has portrayed the maids both assisting in the
garment adornment as well as posturing Raet into submission.
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