Swagga like Us

When T.I. and Jay-Z sang about their unmatched amount of swagga in “Swagga like Us”*, I don’t think they imagined that John Singer Sargent’s niece Rose-Marie Ormond is also known for swagger.

Swagger, or grand manner, is used for paintings that suggest noble qualities through visual metaphors, and Sargent is especially known for his swagger portraits. One of his many swagger portraits is The Cashmere Shawl featuring his niece Rose-Marie.

The Cashmere Shawl, c. 1911 by John Singer Sargent (50.7 x 35.5 cm). Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund. Photograph © 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
The Cashmere Shawl, c. 1911 by John Singer Sargent
(50.7 x 35.5 cm).
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Hayden Collection—Charles Henry Hayden Fund.
Photograph © 2013 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

When looking at The Cashmere Shawl, Rose-Marie’s billowing gown, gently-cocked head, and graceful positioning against the wall are all characteristic of swagger. This is obviously a far cry from the bouts of swagger T.I. and Jay Z share.While the term is used artistically to describe a grandiose portrayal of elitism, it seems that several musicians have borrowed and transformed the word to mean something cool and something more attainable by the common person.

So between Rose-Marie and Jay-Z, who has true swagger?

Perhaps neither. Perhaps the man in A Tramp is the reigning champ of swagger.

A Tramp, circa 1904–6. by John Singer Sargent (50.8 x 35.6 cm).Brooklyn Museum
A Tramp, circa 1904–6. by John Singer Sargent
(50.8 x 35.6 cm).Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum in conjunction with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is hosting an exhibition entitled John Singer Sargent Watercolors until the 28th July. The Brooklyn Museum boasts that this exhibition is a once in lifetime event, so try and check it out if you can. Alternatively you can take a look at Donal Wigal’s Sargent.

*For a great Grammy performance of the hit song by Jay Z, T.I. Kanye West, Lil Wayne and a heavily pregnant M.I.A click here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s