Graphic Arts

Download A Studio Of One's Own: Fictional Women Painters And The Art by Roberta White PDF

By Roberta White

"A Studio of One's personal: Fictional ladies Painters and the paintings of Fiction" is a severe research of the portrayal of ladies artists in 19th- and twentieth-century novels in English, together with British, American, Irish, and Canadian girls writers. This e-book lines the slow development from novice parlor painters within the novels of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and others, to the intense specialist painters depicted via modern writers corresponding to Margaret Atwood. Mary Gordon, and A. S. Byatt. In fiction as in historical past, the lady artist's operating house enlarges via time - through asymmetric steps - from a portfolio in a cabinet to a studio or atelier the place paintings could be accomplished and ready on the market or exhibition. This operating area is a degree of the declare that the artist makes upon the area.

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Her paintings of ‘‘landscapes and flowers’’ hang at Hartfield, and some ‘‘figure-pieces’’ are on display in Mrs. Weston’s drawing room, but her work is framed and hung only because her friends and family all dote upon her (27). Similarly, Mr. Elton’s framing of Emma’s painting of Harriet Smith constitutes an amatory, not an aesthetic, statement. Austen’s ironies are thickly layered at the moment when Emma displays her portfolio to Mr. Elton and Harriet Smith: ‘‘Her many beginnings were displayed.

Cold and gloomy to inhabit, with its thick stone mullions and little latticed panes, its time-eaten airholes, and its too lonely, too unsheltered situation . ’’ (45). Within the near-ruins of this old Tudor mansion Helen has established a bright, clean studio, and within the studio she paints various pictures of the old mansion to sell in London. A woman artist symbolically claims a well-lighted space within a ruin of the past and draws upon that same past as subject for her art, a promising situation but one that is highly unstable, for neither Bronte¨ ’s plot nor even Helen’s own secret desires will allow her to remain an artist for long.

Both use embedded amateur artwork to shed light on their characters and themes. Especially illuminating are the parallel moments in Emma and Jane Eyre when the protagonists open their portfolios and, in revealing their art, reveal themselves as well: Emma Woodhouse shows her portfolio to Mr. Elton and Harriet Smith; Jane Eyre shows hers to Rochester. Both Austen and Bronte¨ also implicitly criticize the superficial values of the marriage market by means of what can be called ‘‘the portrait of the false rival’’: Emma paints a portrait of Harriet Smith, and Jane paints a portrait of two ‘‘false rivals,’’ Blanche Ingram and Rosamond Oliver.

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