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This book examines the paintings and drawings of the well-known seventeenth-century French painter Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) from a gender studies perspective, focusing on a critical analysis of his representations of women. The book's thematic chapters investigate Poussin's women in their roles as predators, as lustful or the objects of lust, as lovers, killers, victims, heroines, or models of virtue. Poussin's paintings reflect issues of gender within his social situation as he consciously or unconsciously articulated its conflicts and assumptions. A gender studies approach brings to light new critical insights that illuminate how the artist represented women, both positively and negatively, within the framework in his seventeenth-century culture. This book covers the artist's works from Classical mythology, Roman history, Tasso, and the Bible. It serves as a good overview of Poussin as an artist, discussing the latest research and including new interpretations of his major works.
The Life and Work of Rosalba Carriera (1673-1757), The Queen of Pastel, is the first extensive biographical narrative in English of Rosalba Carriera. It is also the first scholarly investigation into the external and internal factors that helped to create this female painter's unique career in eighteenth-century Europe. It documents the difficulties, complications, and consequences that arose then-and can also arise today-when a woman decides to become an independent artist. This book contributes a new, in-depth analysis of the interplay among society's expectations, generally accepted codices for gendered behavior, and one single female painter's astute strategies for achieving success, as well as autonomy in her professional life as a famed artist. Some of the questions that the author raises are: How did Carriera manage to build up her career? How did she run her business and organize her own workshop? What kind of artist was Carriera? Finally, what do her self-portraits reveal in terms of self-enactment, possibly autobiographical turning points?
This book argues that the Baroque painter, propagandist, and diplomat, Peter Paul Rubens, was not only aware of rapidly shifting religious and cultural attitudes toward women, but actively engaged in shaping them. Today, Rubens's paintings continue to be used-and abused-to prescribe and proscribe certain forms of femininity. Repositioning some of the artist's best-known works within seventeenth-century Catholic theology and female court culture provides a feminist corrective to a body of art historical scholarship in which studies of gender and religion are often mutually exclusive. Moving chronologically through Rubens's lengthy career, the author shows that, in relation to the powerful women in his life, Rubens figured the female form as a transhistorical carrier of meaning whose devotional and rhetorical efficacy was heightened rather than diminished by notions of female difference and particularity.
Viewers in the Middle Ages and Renaissance were encouraged to forge connections between their physical and affective states when they experienced works of art. They believed that their bodies served a critical function in coming to know and make sense of the world around them, and intimately engaged themselves with works of art and architecture on a daily basis. This book examines how viewers in Medicean Florence were self-consciously cultivated to enhance their sensory appreciation of works of art and creatively self-fashion through somaesthetic experience. Mobilized as a technology for the production of knowledge with and through their bodies, viewers contributed to the essential meaning of Renaissance art and, in the process, bound them to others. By investigating the framework and practice of somaesthetic viewing of works by Benozzo Gozzoli, Donatello, Benedetto Buglioni, Giorgio Vasari, and others in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Florence, the book approaches the viewer as a powerful tool that was used by patrons to shape identity and power in the Renaissance.
Did ordinary Italians have a 'Renaissance'? This book presents the first in-depth exploration of how artisans and small local traders experienced the material and cultural Renaissance. Drawing on a rich blend of sixteenth century visual and archival evidence, it examines how individuals and families at artisanal levels (such as shoemakers, barbers, bakers and innkeepers) lived and worked, managed their household economies and consumption, socialised in their homes, and engaged with the arts and the markets for luxury goods. It demonstrates that although the economic and social status of local craftsmen and traders was relatively low, their material possessions show how these men and women who rarely make it into the history books were fully engaged with contemporary culture, cultural customs and the urban way of life.