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Shifting Priorities: Gender and Genre in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintingby Nanette Salomon
Synopses & Reviews
This ground-breaking book offers the first sustained examination of Dutch seventeenth-century genre painting from a theoretically informed feminist perspective. Other recent works that deal with images of women in this field maintain the paradoxical combination of seeing the images as positivist reflections of “life as it was” and as emblems of virtue and vice. These reductionist practices deprive the works of their complex nature and of their place in visual culture, important frameworks that the book attempts to restore to them. Salomon expands the possibilities for understanding both familiar and unfamiliar paintings from this period by submitting them to a wide range of new and provocative questions. Paintings and prints from the first half of the century through to the second are analyzed to understand the changing social roles and values attributed to the sexes as they were introduced and reflected in the visual arts.
Book News Annotation:
The calm, cool light of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting falls on figures that seduce through detachment. However, Salomon (City U. of New York) shows through her analysis of a variety of visual media that these pieces in fact described turbulence, as men, who were mostly their viewers, judged the women exposed to them in paint and print. In nine essays we learn of the thoughts of Vermeer's pregnant woman as she gazes upon the balance of destiny suspended from her hand, the subtleties of Steen's domestic ideology that defined the modern woman, and the class and gender relationships in von Ostrand's work that change quite apart from us and almost under our view.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Dutch genre paintings of the period between 1680 and 1750 have historically been cast as uninspired repetitions of art from the mid-seventeenth-century Dutch Golden Age. In Confronting the Golden Age, Junko Aono reconsiders these oft-dismissed paintings, repositioning them as dynamic works that played an instrumental role in the canonization of the art of the Golden Age.
Drawing on archival documents, sales catalogs, and other texts, Aono closely analyzes a range of genre paintingsand#151;many of them handsomely reproduced in this volume. In the process, she deepens our understanding of these works and reveals how they illuminate the relationships among painters, collectors, and the dominant artistic currents of the time.
“This book will take a place at the forefront of studies of Dutch genre painting and of feminist art history and visual culture, setting new paradigms for these fields. Shifting Priorities is a sophisticated work of sustained originality, sharp intelligence, and sure judgments of how paintings operated as a negotiation of social discourses, historical shifts, and relations of both class and gender.”—Griselda Pollock, University of Leeds
“With an emphasis on methodological shifts, this book adds a distinctive voice to the recent outpouring of publications on Dutch genre painting. As a focused historiography of some of the changes that continue to alter the scholarship of Netherlandish art, Shifting Priorities demonstrates how intellectually lively and contested our terrain remains.”—Historians of Netherlandish Art Book Reviews
About the Author
Nanette Salomon is Professor of the History of Art at the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York.
Table of Contents
Confronting the Heritage of the Golden
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