||The illuminated photographs of the Countess de Castiglione are unique in the way they demonstrate identity and performativity both through documentation and through fictionality. By combining photography and painting, the Countess created new personas for herself that interrogated the feminine roles expected of an 1860s celebrity and complicated the central role visuality played in these expectations. Three of these illuminated photographs are considered in this thesis. In Ritrosetta (1864), Castiglione employs extreme manipulation and introduces the central motifs found throughout several of her other illuminated photographs. Conversely, The Marquise Mathilde (1861-66) confronts the viewer's gaze directly and examines the act of looking, placing the character in the image in the position both of a sitter and of a viewer; she achieves this by focusing her gaze out of frame and directly at the viewer, while she herself becomes the viewed. Finally, The Queen of Hearts (1863) demonstrates the fluid nature of Castiglione's illuminated photographs exhibiting a persona that at once directs the viewer's gaze and grants it autonomy, thereby allowing the view to project any desire onto the character. These three illuminated photographs straddle the fine line between documentary photography and painterly expression, and they cooperate to create a complex position of the increasingly differentiated women's roles and expectations in 1860s Europe.