Thursday, 5 April 2012

Eleonora di Toledo Nails

This is Eleonora di Toledo, one of the great ladies of the Renaissance, wearing one of the most important dresses in the history of art made from a fabric that was extremely hard to make (it required six different processes to make it), expensive (real gold thread amongst other fine raw materials) and politically significant; the epitome of a 'statement dress' if ever I knew of one.
Eleonora di Toledo, Bronzino portrait

A dress recreation. Picture via
I have loved that portrait and that dress since I was very young when I used to see it in a book my uncle had given me from the Uffici Gallery in Florence. I saw the portrait again recently and really wanted to recreate part of the design on my nails. The end result is not fantastic, it looks a bit tribal instead of soft and organic, but I am pleased with it since it's only the second time I've used brushes and acrylics and going from cats'whiskers to a renaissance pattern is a giant leap. I've also learned a lot about the sort of brushes I need to get/make. I am really enjoying the learning process and a difficult pattern like this is a pleasant challenge. 

With my non-dominant hand I tried to make a netting with pearls like the one she had on her hair and at the top of the dress. 

I also managed to pleat a 5-strand braid!

The breakdown
Base colour: OPI Skuls and Glossbones
the black colour is acrylic
Golden colour: Ciate - Gold Digga
Pearls: one drop of Jessica - 687 Au Natural and one drop of OPI - Kyoto Pearl on top.


  1. I adore everything about this post!

  2. This is amazing. I pat myself on the back if I manage to paint my nails without getting it on my cuticles! I love the inspiration behind it too.

    1. Thank you! I have yet to perfectly accomplish that as is evident, but I'm getting there. It is far harder to achieve that people think, especially when painting with the non-dominant hand.

  3. Ahhhh, this is a fantastic post! Bronzino has always been my very favorite Mannerist painter! The Uffizi version by Bronzino's hand, differs a bit from this version from his workshop. You definitely have the benefit of seeing more of the dress in the Uffizi version-- plus her son Giovanni de' Medici! What an inspired post-- and to endeavor to recreate the intricacies of this gorgeous dress on your nails is a pure act of genius! Your nails are an unmitigated delight to behold! Your 5 pleat braid is also stunningly gorgeous! This is a truly inspirational post!!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much! It's so great to find other art enthousiasts around here. And to think I almost didn't post this cause I thought it's not good enough. I'm actually saving the Uffizi portrait for my second attempt at this now that I have bought much better brushes. I need to improve my painting skills, too. I have so many patterns and ideas from historical sites and costumes in my head that I want to do and your kind your kind words are encouraging me to do it!

    2. You are so welcome!! This is just an awe inspiring post! I'm so glad that you decided to post it, and I can hardly wait to see what you do with the Uffizi portrait!!


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