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Women and Portraits in Early Modern Europe

Gender, Agency, Identity

Women and Portraits in Early Modern Europe by Andrea Pearson
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As one of the first books to treat portraits of early modern women as a discrete subject, this volume considers the possibilities and limits of agency and identity for women in history and, with particular attention to gender, as categories of analysis for women's images. Its nine original essays on Italy, the Low Countries, Germany, France, and England deepen the usefulness of these analytical tools for portraiture. Among the book's broad contributions: it dispels false assumptions about agency's possibilities and limits, showing how agency can be located outside of conventional understanding, and, conversely, how it can be stretched too far. It demonstrates that agency is compatible with relational gender analysis, especially when alternative agencies such as spectatorship are taken into account. It also makes evident the importance of aesthetics for the study of identity and agency. The individual essays reveal, among other things, how portraits broadened the traditional parameters of portraiture, explored transvestism and same-sex eroticism, appropriated aspects of male portraiture to claim those values for their sitters, and, as sites for gender negotiation, resistance, and debate, invoked considerable relational anxiety. Richly layered in method, the book offers an array of provocative insights into its subject.
Taylor and Francis; December 2016
244 pages; ISBN 9781351872263
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Title: Women and Portraits in Early Modern Europe
Author: Andrea Pearson
 
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9780754656661
9781351872263
9781351872270