The hairstyles of the servants were as important as those of their
mistresses, for they had to maintain their appearances. With skill and
assistance, but not a lot of time, they could keep their appearance both
attractive and simple. They were not allowed to compete with their
noble employers, but at the same time they must always be presentable.
Diego Velazquez has captured the beauty of a seamstress in his famous
1640 painting called "The Needlewoman." The unfinished work
nevertheless demonstrates the highly technical skills of Spain's
greatest artist of the period. Unlike the thin and pale, almost
childlike, subjects of his European counterparts, who were required to
emphasize the piousness and modesty of noble ladies, the needlewoman is
a warm and buxom servant, who demonstrates both industry and
affection. A master realist, Diego hints at his attraction for the
woman, who shows a hairstyle that is open, friendly, and orderly,
without the contrived complexity and austere nature of those of more
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