- Series: Icon Editions
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Harper & Row; Reprint edition (October 20, 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0064301834
- ISBN-13: 978-0064301831
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Women, Art, And Power And Other Essays (Icon Editions) Reprint Edition
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That awareness is at the basis of all the essays in this collection, as it is in all of Linda Nochlin's work. In "Eroticism and Female Imagery in Nineteenth-Century Art," for example, what she is after is not some "mere personal fantasy" but the "socially determined concomitants and conventions of erotic imagery" (p. 136). A model of her usual procedure is her analysis of Berthe Morisot's painting "Wet Nurse": acknowledging at the very beginning the painting's astonishing formal daring and extraordinary facture--"almost Fauve before the fact," as she puts it (p. 37)-- she immediately delves into the social meaning of its equally innovative subject matter. One can of course regard this canvas naively, as a baby being suckled by its wet nurse, a charming genre scene, but Nochlin shifts the focus a bit to concentrate on the nurse, and--lo!--the picture becomes not a beguiling family cameo but a work scene, just as surely as contemporary pictures of laundresses, iron-workers, or stone-breakers are work scenes. The context then is the social history of wet-nursing in the 19th century and its wider implications in women's attitudes to motherhood, to the compatibility of motherhood and work, etc.
To read these essays together and to see them in their own context is to realize all the more that "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists" was a really loaded question when it was asked forty years ago, and something like the Big Bang of feminist art history. This is now such an established discipline, its fruits have been so convincing and enlightening, and it has become such an essential part of our historical discourse that it seems as if it must always have been there. But it wasn't; before Linda Nochlin's early work, and the efforts of others which it inspired, there was no such thing as feminist art history, and for that reason alone the essays gathered here are of fundamental historical importance.
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