Performativity and identity in the illuminated photographs of the Countess de Castiglione

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Publication Type thesis
School or College College of Fine Arts
Department Art and Art History
Author McGrew, Christy Rae
Title Performativity and identity in the illuminated photographs of the Countess de Castiglione
Date 2013
Description 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.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Art history
Dissertation Name Master of Arts
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Christy Rae McGrew
Format Medium application/pdf
ARK ark:/87278/s67h5z61
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2019-03-21
Date Modified 2019-03-26
ID 1407499
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s67h5z61
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