UPDATED Lecture | The Gift of Tears: Gender and Emotion in the Art of Rembrandt and his Contemporaries Stephanie S. Dickey

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The Gift of Tears: Gender and Emotion in the Art of Rembrandt and his Contemporaries

Stephanie S. Dickey, Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada

Rembrandt, Suicide of Lucretia, oil on canvas, 1666, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Literary responses to paintings and prints by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and other artists of the early modern Netherlands show that art theorists and connoisseurs appreciated the artist’s ability to capture the emotional nuances of a subject.

This lecture explores one fundamental aspect of emotional display, the shedding of tears, as represented in historical subjects and portraits. Visual and literary sources reveal patterns in the social significance of emotion, and specifically of sorrow, as related to gender and circumstance. The depiction of tearful emotion constituted a key element in the representation of human, especially female, subjectivity and prompted complex responses in contemporary viewers.

Lecture presented by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

Stephanie Dickey received her Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She taught at Indiana University in the US before joining the faculty of Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada, as Bader Chair in Northern Baroque Art.

Her research interests include the work of Rembrandt van Rijn, Anthony van Dyck, and related artists; the history of prints and print collecting; portraiture as a cultural practice; the relationship of word and image; and the representation of emotion. Among her publications are Rembrandt: Portraits in Print (2004), Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered (exhibition catalogue, Washington, National Gallery of Art, Arthur Wheelock, ed., 2008) andThe Passions in the Arts of the Early Modern Netherlands (Netherlands Yearbook for the History of Art 2010, co-edited with Herman Roodenburg).

She is currently working on a book-length study of early responses to Rembrandt’s prints, including a chapter on Thomas Wilson, author of the second catalogue raisonné of Rembrandt’s etchings published in English (1836) and mayor of Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1840s.

Date: Wednesday 29 August 2012, 6.15pm

Venue: South Lecture Theatre, Level 2 Old Arts The University of Melbourne

All Welcome.