These motifs figured primarily in discourses of morality, reflecting the prevailing values and ideals of the time. Their effect on the viewer often hovers between sensual pleasure and moralizing exhortation. Yet it was this very ambivalence that made “Womanhood” an attractive subject—and one that often courted controversial debate. Depictions of femininity are thus not only a rewarding object of art-historical study, they are also interesting in a wider perspective on cultural history, in which they tie in with many issues under discussion today.
One fine body…
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