Catalogue


Maternal bodies in the visual arts /
Rosemary Betterton.
imprint
Manchester : Manchester University Press, c2014.
description
xi, 201 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm.
ISBN
0719083486 (hbk.), 9780719083488 (hbk.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Manchester : Manchester University Press, c2014.
isbn
0719083486 (hbk.)
9780719083488 (hbk.)
catalogue key
9262314
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Photo: Christopher Burke, © Louise Bourgeois Trust / Licensed by DACS
Summaries
Main Description
Maternal bodies in the visual arts brings images of the maternal and pregnant body into the centre of art historical enquiry. By exploring religious, secular and scientific traditions as well as contemporary art practices, it shows the power of visual imagery in framing our understanding of maternal bodies and affirming or contesting prevailing maternal ideals. This book reassesses these historical models and, in drawing on original case studies, shows how visual practices by artists may offer the means of reconfiguring the maternal.This book will appeal to students, academics and researchers in art history, gender studies and cultural studies, as well as to any readers with interests in the maternal and visual culture. It is based on visual case studies drawn from the UK, USA and Europe, which make it very attractive to an international readership. Maternal bodies in the visual arts is ideally placed to capture a growing post- and undergraduate market in maternal studies, which is beginning to emerge as a field of study in the UK and USA with courses in a wide range of social science and humanities disciplines now including the maternal as a key theme.
Long Description
This book brings images of the maternal and pregnant body into the centre of art historical enquiry. By exploring religious, secular and scientific traditions as well as contemporary art practices, it demonstrates the power of visual imagery in framing our understanding of maternal bodies and in affirming or contesting prevailing maternal ideals. In western visual traditions the maternal body was conceived primarily in terms of a sacred vessel of divinity enshrined in the Christian virginal-maternal ideal or as a container for the unborn child in scientific representations of pregnancy. This book reassesses these historical models and in drawing on original case studies shows how visual practices by artists may offer the means of reconfiguring the maternal.Maternal bodies in visual culture addresses themes of maternal space and time, sacred, medical and monstrous representations of maternal bodies, practices by maternal artists and the ageing maternal body. Each chapter is framed around readings of specific artworks by artists from Piero della Francesca to Louise Bourgeois that open up maternal embodiment as a space for investigation. At its heart is a crucial question: what does it mean to employ art as a means of thinking through the maternal? Uniquely it offers an investigation of maternal embodiment as the process of becoming a maternal subject. For many women who practice art, become pregnant and give birth, the most powerful and often transforming experience of their lives is routinely dismissed as sentimental or irrelevant to contemporary art practice. This book demonstrates how becoming maternal is a central but overlooked experience in art.The book will appeal to students, academics and researchers in Art History, Gender Studies and Maternal Studies, as well as to any reader who is interested in visual perspectives on the maternal. Rosemary Betterton is one of the leading scholars in feminist art history of her generation and has written widely on women's historical and contemporary art practices.

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