A Mystery: Why earlier Generals kept their hands inside their Coats in Paintings

ladybird By ladybird, 26th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/4mwn_a96/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Art>History

Most generals and Admirals from the west got themselves painted with Hands insdie their coat. We do not know why.

A Peculiar Trait

I love to look at paintings and sometimes I surf the net and look at famous paintings. I also visit art galleries and shows. One set of paintings and there are so many of them excite me. These are paintings of generals with their right hand in their coat. If one looks at all the paintings of the 18th and 19th century generals and admirals it will be noticed that all of them have been painted with their right hand inside the coat. Even Napoleon has a painting with his right hand inside the coat. Napoleon of course was a great general.

This is a peculiar thing and I can find no explanation for it. I had a look at the general’s paintings of the civil war in USA and all of them have their right hands inside their coats. There is a painting of General Grant also with his hand inside the coat. I really do not know what is the significance of putting the hand inside the coat. Is it some form of oath? One can’t say and I have yet to read a proper explanation about this.

Even Stalin Followed this Custom

However, having said that I can say that only western generals and admirals had this penchant for hands inside their coats and Eastern generals did not follow this trait. They generally got themselves painted with swords in hand. Most of the generals of the east like Saladin and Hari Singh are painted with swords in hand. Even the Indian kings got their official portraits with a sword. However British generals wuo came to India got themselves painted with a hand inside the coat. In fact I remember seeing a portrait of Robert Clive with his hand inside his coat.
It’s interesting to note the paintings of the 18th and 19th century generals with hands inside their coats. Maybe it was just a fad, but what is the significance one cannot tell.
This trait continued into teh 20th century and there is a painting of the great soviet leader Stalin with his hand inside the coat.


Admirals, Generals, Indian Generals, Paintings

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I am a lawyer who is fond of riding and active sports

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Apr 2015 (#)

I read it was considered a refined pose for a portrait - siva

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
27th Apr 2015 (#)

It's indeed surprising. I suggest you do some research to find out the cause behind this custom and post a blog.

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author avatar ladybird
28th Apr 2015 (#)

Thank you Gv Rama Rao. a good suggestion

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