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Historically Accurate Rapunzel by Wickfield Historically Accurate Rapunzel by Wickfield

Being the history geek that I am, I guess it is kind of surprising that I haven't really done a "historically accurate" animation series before, but after seeing that awesome Buzzfeed Disney Princess video, and of course all the amazing art on here, I was inspired to make my own.  I guess it is better late than never!

As I've said before elsewhere, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not at all bothered by the animated designs of the characters in Disney and Dreamworks films. They weren't documentaries after all so in most cases they didn't need to be accurate, and in animation in particular, it is more important to convey character and style in the designs.  I am not trying to "fix" anything because I don't think there is anything to fix!  That being said, it can still be fun to learn how your favorite characters might have looked if they had existed in real life.  :) (Smile)  

For my series, I am trying to be as accurate as I possibly can.  I'm taking the country of origin, the social class, the culture, and the specific decade into mind (instead of just a general sweep of multiple decades), and also adapting the colors and styles to fit what was available and worn everyday.  I will try to keep the characters recognizable where I can, but I want to make my pictures realistic and so some elements of the original designs might be altered in the process.

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Back when I first started the series I hadn’t planned to draw Rapunzel because I had no clue what her era was supposed to be, but then I learned that Tangled, according to the producers, was actually supposed to be taking place in the 1780s!  (Before, of course, they retconned it to fit in Frozen’s universe.)  You could see some of this influence in the concept art, but not much in the final film, so I thought it would be fun to bring some of that back into Rapunzel’s design.

It was still kind of tough to figure out what Rapunzel should wear since  18th century fashion depended heavily on your class, and a girl locked in a tower by a witch doesn’t exactly fit into any one category!  However, when I looked at Rapunzel’s outfit she definitely appears to dress more like the Corona royalty than any of the village peasants, so I’m assuming that Gothel enabled her to keep up with the changing fashions…for some reason.   

Although some women began experimenting with other styles, the two-piece  gown, like the “robe l’anglaise,” was still the primary cut for women’s dresses in this period.  Wealthy women had fancy versions of the dress with a train, but I found some extant examples with slightly more practical skirts that I thought fit Rapunzel better.  I loved the laced front on these two gowns, just like her dress in the movie!   The split skirt “robe” would have been worn over a separate skirt, called a petticoat.  I gave Rapunzel a quilted petticoat like this – often women got creative with decorative designs, and with all Rapunzel’s free time I think she would put a lot of care into embellishing her clothing.  Lastly, the violet color of Rapunzel’s dress didn’t really exist until chemical dyes came into use, but I found some very pretty mauve items, like this man’s suit, and this lady’s skirt, which inspired the colors for my version.

Of course, this being Rapunzel, I had to pay extra attention to her hair!  The sky-high hairstyles of the 1770s had already gone out of style, replaced by the super curly style called the hedgehog!  That is what I gave Rapunzel – with several added feet hanging down in the back. ;)  Women usually accented their hairstyles with a ribbon so I worked the stripes from Rapunzel’s sleeves into hers.

Finally we come to the issue of footwear.  When I was putting together this design I planned to give Rapunzel shoes from the start; that was especially important for women, and even the very poor wore shoes if they could get them.  That was until I read that, during this time period, going barefoot was a sign of public humiliation, forced on slaves and prisoners.  The idea was that if you were barefoot you were less likely to escape, and if you were kicking or fighting you would do less harm than if you wearing shoes - plus it would set you apart from the authorities who had more power than you.  WELL, with that information in hand I had to draw Rapunzel’s bare foot peeking out of her skirts!  Living in the tower all her life she wouldn’t  know that going without shoes was unusual, but I feel like Gothel would derive satisfaction from such a display of power.  I also thought that element of her design was a perfect metaphor for Rapunzel’s situation in the movie – on the surface everything looks very neat and proper, but when you look a little closer you can see something is definitely not right. 

Anyway, I hope you like this version of Rapunzel.   I will also be doing Flynn eventually, but next week I will be adding another non-Disney lady to the lineup - Anya!

Add a Comment:
 
:icondonovandelaney:
donovandelaney Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2018  Student
Um, where are the yellow stars going down the front. They would start from the top to the buttom.
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:iconitsallpossible:
ItsAllPossible Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2018
Sweeet! 
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:iconbloodyfaery:
bloodyfaery Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2018
I also need to tackle this after I finish my historically accurate Belle. I just love everything about this. (The wig will be a nightmare but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it lol.)
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I bet it will be great! Beckaroony on IG is working on a version of this, maybe she would have some tips for you. :)
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:iconbloodyfaery:
bloodyfaery Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2018
:O! I need pictures of that! Tbh, I'll probably end up making several of your works into real cosplays lol. 
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:icontheeclecticone:
TheEclecticOne Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course she and Eugene would still be young in 1839! She could use her hair to keep themselves young, maybe she could use it on people she trusts to help her heal from all the years she spent with Gothel...
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmm, that could work ;)
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:icontheeclecticone:
TheEclecticOne Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah
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:iconobsessivereader182:
Obsessivereader182 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
hmm  She'd be between 77 and 68 in 1839.
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:icontheeclecticone:
TheEclecticOne Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah but she could use her hair (she gets it back in the TV series) to keep herself and Eugene young
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:iconobsessivereader182:
Obsessivereader182 Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Possibly, but when you see her she's a brunette with short hair.
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:icontheeclecticone:
TheEclecticOne Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
yeah
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:iconobsessivereader182:
Obsessivereader182 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
What year would you say it's set in? I'm with '86 cause that's when the Marriage of Figaro premiered.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Honestly, I'm not familiar enough with the movie details to be sure, but I based Rapunzel's dress in this drawing on dresses from about 1780-1784. :)
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017
I like! Reminds me of the original tale of Rapunzel. :)
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2017
You're welcome!
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:iconalexyorim:
alexyorim Featured By Owner May 31, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish that there'd be an 1840 version of Rapunzel.
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:iconwiltingheart:
WiltingHeart Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
This reminds me of Belle's blue village dress in the first live-action Beauty and the Beast :)

Wonderful work!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconwiltingheart:
WiltingHeart Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
you're welcome :)
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:iconladydaliena:
LadyDaliena Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2017
I swear to god, when I saw that the official time where Tangled took place... Did those people even know how the 1780's looked like? Because when I saw the movie I thought (by the looking of the peasents clothing, because I wasn't expecting the lead lady to have an accurate dress) it took place in the middle ages.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, the design for Tangled was all over the place.  The original concept art was a lot more 18th-century-inspired, so I have a feeling the "1780s" date was picked early on in development and they just kept repeating it even after the more medievalesque designs were finalized.  They do mention Mozart in the movie, though!
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:iconemperorpalpitoad:
EmperorPalpitoad Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2017
did the story really originate in Germany?
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep! In the original story she was named after a leafy green plant called "Rapunzel" in German.
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh wow, so perfect!!! Love all the details you chose, especially the bare feet. So well done :clap:
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, finding that info on the bare feet was the perfect final touch to the design. :)
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
Indeed indeed. 
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:iconimperatorgermaniae:
ImperatorGermaniae Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016
We must really say, that it is funny to see, how the good people from the States interpret the old, German Fairy Tales! Giggle
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, Disney's version is definitely different from the original! :giggle:
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:iconimperatorgermaniae:
ImperatorGermaniae Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016
As We have seen Disney's version of Snow White, We were surprised because the Evil Queen has tried to kill Snow White for three times and in the film, you can only see the assassination with the poisoned apple.

Later We have read, that Disnay has meant, that all three assassinations would have been too brutal for the american audience and that the film was only for adults. :o (Eek)  

Then We were even more surprised, because in Germany we read this stories already in the Kindergarten! :D (Big Grin)

PS: Please excuse Our bad English skills! Sweating a little...   
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, American audiences usually prefer a happy ending which wasn't always the case in the original fairytales!  But some of those other attempts on Snow's life were probably cut out just of the Disney movie because of timing, too.

Anyway, with my Historically Accurate Series I at least try to make the fashion a little closer to real life!
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:iconfreed0:
Freed0 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2016
For the historian than I am, Rapunzel DOES NOT take place in 18th century, but in the Renaissance. The dresses, the houses and particulary the males costums reminds me about the Tudors or Charles Quint or François Ier... So, if the producers wanted to put it in the 1780's, I think they failed!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, that's what is so weird!  I  think the only reference to the 18th century in the actual movie is when one of the guys at the Ugly Duckling wanting to work with Mozart. :XD: 
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:iconfreed0:
Freed0 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2016
Indeed :D
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016   Digital Artist
I had no idea it was supposed to take place in the 1780's, but it looks lovely. I guess I kind of assumed that with how all over the place the fashion in that movie was it was more just Ye Olde Generic Renaissance.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, that's why I didn't think I would draw it at first, it has a *way* more Renaissance feel than 18th century.  I thought "well maybe 1570s Italy would work because of the sleeves and skirts" and then "IDK Flynn looks like he is wearing a Tudor doublet should I go that angle?" I'm not even going to attempt to fit Gothel into this scheme though because there is no way a woman could be wearing a bliaut in 18th century Europe without staying out of the madhouse, witch or not!
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016   Digital Artist
Yeah, the fashion in Rapunzel is just all over the place. There's also the royal guards with their semi-Napoleonic attire, and the king and queen who wear sort of semi-Tudor clothing with modern day hairstyles. For a dressup game I'm gonna make where you get to dress up the different Disney characters in historically accurate clothing, I went with the 1650's for Rapunzel, but that was mainly because it sort of fits with her whole corsety thing with the slit sleeves, but also because I kind of wanted an excuse to include the Baroque era. xD Baroque clothing is so often overlooked in favour of Rococo clothing.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I thought the royals looked Tudor also. Well, I thought the king looked like the Burger King, anyway! I feel like this was one of the first Disney princess movies almost entirely designed to be "marketable" which may account for the generic fairytale look.
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016   Digital Artist
Oh my god, I never realised, but you're right. xD Tudor Burger King.
Yeah, that sounds about right. I think that's probably why I didn't really enjoy Tangled as much as I enjoyed the other Disney princess movies, because it just seemed to me like they were more concerned about being as marketable as possible, with jokes having a higher priority than the storyline, for example.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Same here!
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:iconhondtangled:
HONDTangled Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
OH MY GOSH i love the research and detail, i've learned something today THANK YOU!! :glomp:
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're welcome!  
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:iconhondtangled:
HONDTangled Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
:D
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:iconriminimini:
riminimini Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice :D I love the fact that you always put sources in the description, it's always interesting :happybounce: and since I'd like to create a comic set in that time period, this time it's been pretty helpful too :) Thank you!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, cool! If you have any questions I can try to help. :)
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:iconriminimini:
riminimini Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Really? Thank you very much! :happybounce: I'll keep that in mind!
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:icondaneitadafios:
DaneitaDafios Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016
Fabulous! Reminds me of Mrs. Miggins from "Blackadder" :)
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Uh oh, I'm not sure that is a good thing! :XD:
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:icondaneitadafios:
DaneitaDafios Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2016
Mrs. Miggins is awesome! :D
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