Post-Collage Musings: Late Medieval Female Body and Later 19th- and 20th-Century Queries

1.  Reflections on the female body as it was so gloriously explored by Elina Gertsman on the day of Collage?  Any surprises that you would like to share?  I, for example, had no idea that Caesarian births generated the Anti-Christ (I don’t think I will tell my daughter).  As a member of the species of failed males, with my undesirable humors, et. al., I find it amazing that pregnancy is considered a favorable state!  Obviously, the positive spin on pregnancy is solely due to the role of the male in provoking it.

2.  So, where were we?  Comment on the uneasy relationship between Impressionism and women as artists and models.

3.  Do you agree with Chadwick’s comments regarding Mary Cassatt and her subject matter?

4.  In your opinion, does the conflation of Camille Claudel’s biography and her stylistic evolution pose the same dangers that we have discussed before in this course?

5.  Why is Suzanne Valadon such a unique artist/model/mother/wife in the history of art?  What did you notice in the contrast of Chadwick’s discussion of the figures of Valadon and those of Renoir?

6.  Discuss the meaning of “The Abandoned Doll.”

7.  Why are the graphic arts such an ideal medium for Kathe Kollwitz’s subject matter?  What other artists have successfully employed the same medium?

8.  Comment on some of the following relationships:  Paula Modersohn-Becker and Worpswede artists; Gabrielle Munter and Kandinsky; Sonia Delaunay and the Simultaneous; Popova and the newly industrialized world; Gwen John and Vermeer;

9.  What was Vanessa Bell’s greatest contribution in your opinion?

10.  Why is the life and art of Romaine Brooks so compelling?

11.  Was Hannah Hoch merely a token female in the Club Dada founded in 1918?  Why is “photomontage” such a paradigm shift in terms of visual solutions?

12.  In what ways is “Marlene” from 1930 a deconstruction of sexism?


4 responses

  1. I didn’t even realize that they preformed C-sections prior to modern medicine, let alone that it lead to the anti-christ!

    I was fascinated my the concept of covering one’s hair during sex. I’ve noticed that most Western orthodox religions require women to veil their hair (not only Muslims, but orthodox Jews, Catholic nuns, etc.). What’s with the hair?

    I was also surprised by the ways to ensure that you had a male child or a non-monster baby. Also, they had sex manuals?! What?!

  2. 1. I’m still mulling around the idea of woman as container. it could mean so many things…

    3. I think Cassatt’s commentary on ritual is very interesting.


    9. i think her greatest contribution was her work with fabric.

  3. First of all, I would just like to say that Collage was amazing! It was so exciting to be part of Jury and then see it come together so successfully.

    I was so excited to discover that Louisa May Alcott was an artist as well as a writing and really want to read Diana and Persis now! I have always loved Cassatt’s work, and thought that it gave a warm, realistic, and insightful view of maternity, real and imagined, during this time period. The idea that these painting were actually commentaries on the social constructs that form gender is fascinating and something I would like to discuss. I always like to give artists plenty of credit, however, I worry that this is simply 21st century optimism speaking.

  4. I loved Elina and her talk! It was clear that she was passionate and very knowledgable on the subject since she admitted that she planned to just talk about stuff. I found the lecture fascinating. The humors, sexual rituals, monster/satan babies, and the fact that female babies were so clearly seen as wrong/atypical to men were all interesting subjects. I loved it! She was the perfect choice.

    From page 234, “I consider women writers, lawyers, and politicians as monsters and notheing but five-legged calves,” declared Renoir. “The woman artist is merely ridiculous, but I am in favor of the female singer and dancer.” I think I lost respect for at least Renoir’s character after that one. Chadwick hits it spot on after that quote saying, “Renoir’s comment divides women by class and occupation. Working-class women are admired for entertaining men; professional women with public roles are seen as usurpers of male authority or destroyers of domestic harmony.”

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