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Seeing Ourselves: Women's Self-Portraits Hardcover – March 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810941880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810941885
  • Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 8.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,216,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her fifth book, social art historian Borzello has "tried to make sense of what I was seeing by treating the self-portraits as painted versions of autobiography." Borzello has chosen vivid self-portraits of women from middle ages to the present that reveal cultural characteristics of an era as well as ideographic inclusions of the artist's perception of herself. As in every autobiographical sketch, imagery is selective. Thus many portraits of earlier centuries are modeled on those of male painters, palette on one arm, brush poised in the other, both indicating serious intent. But despite this earlier evidence of fine self portraiture, it was not until the late 19th century that art began to be recognized as a legitimate and significant field for women. Borzello's text, accompanied by the 240 well-chosen illustrations (100 in color) is a history of the marked separation of male/female domains in daily life, as well as women's ability to skirt prevailing male traditions and portray an inner life that transcended domesticity. The transition from subtle details?the setting the portraitist chose for herself, the style of dress and hair, the placement of her hands?to the startling freedom of 20th-century imagery that revealed women artists as "independent and unshackled by conventional notions of feminine behavior" is arresting. The visual manifestation of how women see and represent themselves may seem elusive, but Borzello does a fine job of illuminating the subject, without overly simplifying it.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Books of this high caliber are few and far between in feminist art history. Borzello, a specialist in the social history of art, aimed to "present women artists' self-portraits as a genre in its own right." She succeeds admirably, creating a work that is exciting yet factual, inspiring without indulging in hyperbole, and that stands as one of the finest single volumes on women artists appearing in at least a decade. Written in elegant prose that will draw in even casual readers, it bears a wealth of new material on both well-known and practically unknown artists, with 240 illustrations?100 of them in large format and excellent color. After the preface and introduction, there are separate chapters covering the 16th through 20th centuries, with headings that range from "the presentation of self" to "breaking taboos," and comments called "drawing breath." For example, of the late 1960s Borzello writes, "These were the glory days of feminist art, when indignation fueled the artists and everything seemed possible." To demonstrate, she discusses Louise Bourgeois's "Torso/Self Portrait," c.1963-64, and Sylvia Sleigh's "Philip Golub Reclining," 1971. A landmark work; essential for all academic and large public libraries.?Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson Univ., MD
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover
An outstanding gift for all those interested in women's history and art. Lavishly illustrated, this book provides a fascinating text which raises provocative questions about how and why women artists chose to represent themselves in the way they did. This is a particularly useful contribution to both women's studies and art history." I enjoyed it thoroughly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For anyone interested in this topic, I recommend this book. It is well-written and offers lots of insight on the role of female portraiture in the western artistic tradition.
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Format: Hardcover
This book about women artists seen by themselves is very useful for Art History education. But it's also very interesting for everybody wanting to know more about women artists and Art HERstory.

I've read the book in it's Dutch translation "kijken naar onszelf". For all those who can understand Dutch: het is een zeer interessant boek, waarin de auteur de geschiedenis van de vrouwelijke kunstenaars behandelt vanuit de zelfportretten die deze vrouwen van zichzelf hebben gemaakt. Daarbij plaatst zij de vrouwen in de sociaal-maatschappelijke context waarin zij leefden en dat geeft een goed beeld van de situatie. Het toont ook de moeilijkheden die vrouwelijke kunstenaars door de eeuwen heen hebben moeten overwinnen om te kunnen existeren in de kunstwereld die een mannenwereld was/is. Het boek behandelt de vrouwen vanaf de renaissance tot eind 20e eeuw.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Laura Morledge on January 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Better then any Art History/Woman's History class out there.
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