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Simeon Solomon's work before 1873: interpretation and identity

Naylor, Aileen Elizabeth (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis has two aims. The first is to demonstrate that commentaries on the work produced by Simeon Solomon (1840-1905) before 1873, an artist who was Jewish and homosexual, have been dominated by critics’ perceptions of him as a marginal figure. Solomon’s Jewish heritage and homosexuality doubly marginalised him in the Christian, heterosexual culture of Victorian England so it is understandable that commentators have focused on his minority position and read signs of difference in his works. However, my second aim is to challenge this perspective. I will show how much Solomon’s art had in common with that of his contemporaries and broaden the discussion by analysing paintings which have been given less critical attention, possibly because they do not present so many opportunities to refer to the artist’s marginality. I will suggest alternative interpretations of specific paintings which draw upon other aspects of nineteenth-century English society in order to show how explanations which focus primarily on Solomon’s marginalised identities are not the only and, in some cases, not the most useful ways to read his work.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Cusack, Tricia
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of History of Art
Subjects:ND Painting
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:714
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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