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Female society portraits: representing the elite woman in eighteenth-century New Spain

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Title: Female society portraits: representing the elite woman in eighteenth-century New Spain
Author(s): Nunez Mendez, Elsaris
Advisor(s): Rosenthal, Lisa
Department / Program: Art & Design
Discipline: Art History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Colonial Mexico Portraiture Female Society Portraits Folding- Screen Genre Painting New Spain
Abstract: Since the early stages of the colonization of Mexico, the production of portraits in this territory had been limited to the representation of prelates, viceroys and other government officials. By 1700, however, the boom in the mining industry extended the production and circulation of portraiture beyond to a new and growing class of elites. This project examines the production and circulation of secular female portraiture in eighteenth-century New Spain. Focusing on the role of portraiture as an agent in the formation of individual and collective identities, this study delves into the ways in which portraits construct identity by mobilizing and representing values and ideas related to class, status and gender that circulated in eighteenth- century New Spanish culture. Specifically, this essay analyses how while mobilizing a visual formula borrowed from male official portraiture, society portraits of elite women engage viewers into an interpretation of pictorial conventions that is specific to the female gender, thus promoting a model of the Christian ideal woman. Finally, this essay explores the effects of the portrait’s display, in the construction of meaning by proposing the New Hispanic domestic interiors, specifically the salón de estrado, as a site where seemingly contradicting ideas about womanhood are negotiated.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/34383
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Elsaris Nunez Mendez
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08
 

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