Ever wanted the Girl with a Pearl Earring's glow? Or seriously eyed the tousled curls on Botticelli's Venus (a.k.a. Renaissance Beyoncé)? Well, let us make your dream real—and use that Art History degree, finally—by recreating the makeup from a few famous portraits.
We got the idea when Bloomingdale's emailed us about these new Bobbi Brown Art Sticks they're carrying. They look like jumbo colored pencils, and they've got a beautifully pigmented texture, like oil paint on canvas. Most importantly, though, the shades are dead ringers for some of the most iconic lips in modern art. As in, matches so exact we suspect Bobbi visited the Met's Belle Époque exhibit when she formulated them. Kind of insane. Want a smirk so alluring someone might be tempted to paint (or at least Instagram) it? Keep reading, then:
Painting: Madame X by John Singer Sargent
Art Stick: Cassis
X was John Singer Sargent's tribute to Virginie Gautreau, a socialite who might as well have been her generation's Daphne Guinness. She wore scandalous strapless gowns, dyed her hair and eyebrows red with henna, ate arsenic wafers to make her skin translucent, and accentuated her milky complexion with mauve powder that gave her an otherworldly purple glow. Just exhibiting the painting caused a riot on the Champs-Élysées, and the Paris press insinuated that Mrs. Gautreau had posed sans sous-vêtements. SCANDALE!
Virginie's not-so-little LBD and berry-stained lip are as cool now as they were in 1884, and though we're not super into ingesting arsenic, dabbing Cassis over a thin base coat of Aquaphor will give your mouth the depth and sheerness of Sargent's strokes. It looks great on pale girls, and you'll feel just a little bit more outrageous.
Painting: Woman with a Black Tie by Modigliani
Art Stick: Sunset Orange
Amedeo Modigliani's affair with Jeanne Hébuterne is the stuff doomed, romantic artist stereotypes are made of. They were only together for three years, but in that time they refused to marry, had a child, produced work after incredible work, then died within 24 hours of one another. Jeanne, a fellow painter, was Modigliani's muse, as well as his soulmate. She's the subject of over 20 of his works, and Woman with a Black Tie is from 1917, when they'd just become an item. Her show-stopping lips alone are enough to suggest how enamored he was—they're vivid, full, and the undeniable focal point. Want that? Fill in your lips completely with Bobbi's Sunset Orange and then press translucent powder on top for the perfect chalked-matte finish.
Painting: Portrait of Emilie Flöge by Gustav Klimt
Art Stick: Dusty Pink
Klimt's muse, Emilie Flöge, was a force to be reckoned with. She was a liberated woman who ran her own couture business and lived with Klimt—also out of wedlock, naturally—for almost 20 years. In a world where swept back hair and demure colors were the fashion for women, she's all voluminous curls and rich patterns. And instead of trying for Madame X's pallor, Emilie has a healthy, rosy glow that suggests Mr. Klimt's excellent technique extended well outside the studio. Recreate her soft smile with just a couple swipes of Dusty Pink—enough to get the color, but not so much that your natural lip tone doesn't show through.
Photos by Mathea Millman. This art history lesson made possible by the culture-loving crew at Bloomingdale's. Pick up the new Art Sticks exclusively here.