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Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet's Paris
     

Sheer Presence: The Veil in Manet's Paris

by Marni Reva Kessler
 

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Tamar's instrument of seduction in the Hebrew Bible, Penelope's shroud in Homer's Odyssey, accessory of brides as well as windows, and hallmark of the religious and the wealthy, the veil has historically been an intriguing signifier. Initially donned in France for liturgical purposes and later for masked balls and as a sun- and windscreen at the seashores,

Overview

Tamar's instrument of seduction in the Hebrew Bible, Penelope's shroud in Homer's Odyssey, accessory of brides as well as windows, and hallmark of the religious and the wealthy, the veil has historically been an intriguing signifier. Initially donned in France for liturgical purposes and later for masked balls and as a sun- and windscreen at the seashores, face-covering veils were adopted for fashionable urban use during the reign of Napoleon III. In Sheer Presence, Marni Reva Kessler demonstrates how this ubiquitous garment and its visual representations knot together many of the precepts of Parisian life.

Considering the period from the beginning of Napoleon III's rule in 1852 to 1889, when the Paris Universal Exhibition displayed veiled North African Muslims and other indigenous colonial peoples, Kessler deftly connects the increased presence of the veil on the streets and on canvas to Haussmann's massive renovation of Paris. A veil was protection for the proper woman from the vices associated with the modern city, preserving-at least on the surface-her femininity and class superiority. Positioning the veil directly at the intersection of feminists, formalist, and social art history, Kessler offers a fresh perspective on period discourses of public health, seduction and sexuality, colonial stereotypes, and, ultimately, an emerging modernity.

About the Author:
Marni Reva Kessler is assistant professor of art history at the University of Kansas

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780816647828
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
Publication date:
12/11/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)

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