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IMAGES OF WOMEN AND IDEAS OF NATIONHOOD IN NINETEENTH CENTURY SPANISH HISTORICAL PAINTING

Abstract

Author(s): Celia MARTIN-PEREZ

History painting was the dominant form of academic painting in the nineteenth century. It emanated from the need to reinterpret the national past in order to consolidate the process of nation formation that took place throughout this period in Europe. In Spain, this genre privileged portrayals of historical women in an attempt to provoke a stronger emotional response from the viewer. My aim in this paper is to show the dynamics of representation in these paintings where the body of a woman, which in iconographic traditions have nearly always represented as subjugated, is also the body of a political figure, and the role these works may have played in constructing notions of national identity and womanhood. For this purpose, I have chosen the following paintings for examination: Death of Lucretia painted by Eduardo Rosales in 1871; two works that bear the same name and subject The Cid’s daughters, produced by Dióscolo de la Puebla in 1871 and Ignacio Pinazo in 1879; Mariana Pineda being taken to the scaffold (1862) by Isidoro Lozano and Mariana Pineda bidding her farewell by Isidoro Lozano (1862); and Pradilla’s Juana the madwoman of 1878.

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