The Exceptional Woman: Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun and the Cultural Politics of Artby Mary D. Sheriff
In The Exceptional Woman,
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.
- University of Chicago Press
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- 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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