This week was all about paper dolls and art history. Part of the project was identifying artworks from my personal canon. What do I identify with, and what literally and figuratively does not fit? Each artwork has conceptual points of contact and departure for my own identity and values, so the result is a rather intriguing bit of recursion.
I’ll need another fifty or so outfits for the intended effect. This is just an initial push so I can begin the research and writing aspects of things.
In case these aren’t immediately recognizable, here are the artworks to which these dolls refer:
David’s portrait of Napoleon…there are so many things worth saying about the manipulation of history to serve as propaganda. For now, let’s just keep in mind that Napoleon’s artistic legacy is always the first body of artworks I think of to represent male power.
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus is gorgeous…but I have my reservations as well.
Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun and her self-portraits are some of the better-known works of art by female artists. One of the most fascinating things about her self-portraits is how carefully they advertise her artistic abilities while presenting her as “safely” feminine.
John Singer Sargent painted quite a lot of high society ladies. Even with buckets of money, I couldn’t be like them.
Bronzino’s young man always struck me as a bit of a poser. I see his facade, and I rather love him for it.
I will happily wave my copy of Foucault’s book on Manet to justify my partisanship.
If Napoleon in art represents masculine power, then here is the first thing I think of when wondering what female power would look like.
I could easily write an essay on each and every of these selections. (I will attempt to be brief.) Future plans include: Rosie the riveter, Henry VIII, Freud, Biblical figures (especially Peter), Medusa, fig leaves, Victorian ladies, and skeletons.