Actress and director Greta Gervig walked the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a reporter from the New York Times and showed the work that inspired the new screening of Louise May Alcott’s novel “Little Women”. It is the story of four young nineteenth-century sisters from Massachusetts who are struggling to meet – or overcome – the expectations placed on them by society after the Civil War.

Stops at a 1870 painting by Winslow Homer depicting three women on the beach, Hervig said: “These are my girls. Don’t they look like girls you know?”

Indeed, many of the costumes that appear in the film are taken directly from the paintings, told InStyle magazine by costume designer Jacqueline Durran. For example, she mentioned the work of Winslow Homer with two boys in the field. This canvas inspired a dress worn by one of the characters in the movie, Joe.

Eagle Head, Manchester, Massachusetts.
Winslow Homer
1870, 66×96.5 cm

Another character, Amy, wears a dress made of lace and ruffles, which can be seen on women from the Impressionist paintings of the era of Edouard Manet. And Meg’s ether wardrobe is taken from works by Pre-Raphaelites such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir John Everett Millais.

“Clothes are part of the girls’ journey into the world, part of presenting them as personalities,” said Durran.

On the slider below are some of the paintings and photographs referred to by Hervig and Derran, as well as shots from the film.