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The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Art
     

The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Art

by Mary D. Sheriff
 

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Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) was an enormously successful painter, a favorite portraitist of Marie-Antoinette, and one of the few women accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In accounts of her role as an artist, she was simultaneously flattered as a charming woman and vilified as monstrously unfeminine.

In The Exceptional Woman,

Overview

Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755-1842) was an enormously successful painter, a favorite portraitist of Marie-Antoinette, and one of the few women accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. In accounts of her role as an artist, she was simultaneously flattered as a charming woman and vilified as monstrously unfeminine.

In The Exceptional Woman, Mary D. Sheriff uses Vigée-Lebrun's career to explore the contradictory position of "woman-artist" in the moral, philosophical, professional, and medical debates about women in eighteenth-century France. Paying particular attention to painted and textual self-portraits, Sheriff shows how Vigée-Lebrun's images and memoirs undermined the assumptions about "woman" and the strictures imposed on women.

Engaging ancien-régime philosophy, as well as modern feminism, psychoanalysis, literary theory, and art criticism, Sheriff's interpretations of Vigée-Lebrun's paintings challenge us to rethink the work and the world of this controversial woman artist.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Vigee-Lebrun (1755-1842) was a successful French painter, a favorite portraitist of Marie-Antoinette, and one of the few women accepted into the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. Sheriff (art, U. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) examines her contradictory role as woman artist within the cultural norms, social attitudes, and medical theories of her time, which led her to be flattered and vilified at the same time. Illustrated in black and white. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226752822
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
10/24/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Mary D. Sheriff was the W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Art and department chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her scholarship focused on 18th- and 19th-century French art and culture. Four of her books are published by the University of Chicago Press.

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