French women artists of the Napoleonic era (1799 –1815)

Squire, Hannah (2015). French women artists of the Napoleonic era (1799 –1815). University of Birmingham. M.Res.

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This thesis analyses the gendered power relations involved in art works that were created by women artists, during the Napoleonic era (1799 –1815). I explore how women artists use the female body as a signifier of wider gender debates. Unlike previous scholarship, I scrutinise the ways women asserted their engagement with the public sphere through their art works, how the historical context, for example, the establishment of the Napoleonic Civil Code, coupled with the ideology of separate spheres, and the opening of the Salon to all artists, effected the paintings women produced and exhibited.
In chapter 1, I analyse the self-portraits of Marie-Denis Villers (1774 –1821), Constance Mayer (1774-1821), and Marie-Gabrielle Capet (1761-1818). I study how these women asserted their status as professional artists, whilst still engaging with the contemporary discourses concerning female identity. The second chapter proposes new interpretations of Pauline Auzou’s (1775-1835) representations of events celebrating the marriage of Marie-Louise and Napoleon Bonaparte. I scrutinise, how Auzou examines the Empress’s unique position in contemporary French society, the importance of images of Marie-Louise as Napoleonic propaganda paintings in the Salon exhibitions, and the artist’s portrayal of the significant, prescribed roles women played in the public sphere.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Res.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Res.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR


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