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Bodies of Art: French Literary Realism and the Artist's Model

Bodies of Art: French Literary Realism and the Artist's Model (Hardback)

£54.00
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Synopsis

To the time-honored myth of the artist creating works of genius in isolation, with nothing but inspiration to guide him, art historians have added the mitigating influences of critics, dealers, and the public. Bodies of Art completes the picture by adding the model. This lively look at atelier politics through the lens of literature focuses in particular on the female model, with special attention to her race, ethnicity, and class. The result is a suggestive account of the rise and fall of the female model in nineteenth-century realism, with a final emphasis on the passage of the model into photography at the turn of the century. This history of the model begins in nineteenth-century Paris, where the artist-model dynamic was regularly debated by writers and where the most important categories of models appear to be Jewish, Italian, and Parisian women. Bodies of Art traces an evolution in the representation of this model in realist and naturalist literary works from her "birth" in Balzac to her "death" in Maupassant, in the process revealing how she played a key role in theories of representation advanced by writers. Throughout the book, Marie Lathers connects the artist's work to the social realities and actual bodies that surround and inhabit the atelier. Her work shows how much the status of the model can tell us about artistic practices during the century of the birth of modernity.

Marie Lathers is Elizabeth M. and William C. Treuhaft Professor of Humanities and French at Case Western Reserve University. She is the author of The Aesthetics of Artifice: Villiers's L'Eve future.

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