Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies (Paperback)
Art historian Catherine McCormack challenges how culture teaches us to see and value women, their bodies, and their lives.
Venus, maiden, wife, mother, monster—women have been bound so long by these restrictive roles, codified by patriarchal culture, that we scarcely see them. Catherine McCormack illuminates the assumptions behind these stereotypes whether writ large or subtly hidden. She ranges through Western art—think Titian, Botticelli, and Millais—and the image-saturated world of fashion photographs, advertisements, and social media, and boldly counters these depictions by turning to the work of women artists like Morisot, Ringgold, Lacy, and Walker, who offer alternative images for exploring women’s identity, sexuality, race, and power in more complex ways.
About the Author
Catherine McCormack is author of The Art of Looking Up, as well as curator and lecturer in historic and contemporary art history. She is the founder and course director of the Women and Art study program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art and lives in London.
Women in the Picture mounts a sensitive and probing critique of the motifs, the preordained poses and affectations of the female figure in art. If feminism aspires to render itself obsolete, McCormack’s project too yearns for a future when critiquing such postures...will no longer be necessary.
— Jasmine Sanders, New York Times Book Review
A passionate, serious, yet often entertaining introduction to issues that will be with us for the foreseeable future, their historic context and their implications for women.
— Cathryn Keller, Washington Post
[An] illuminating look at how women's bodies have been depicted in the arts…This eye-opening work will leave readers with plenty to ponder.
— Publishers Weekly (starred)
A timely, succinct, aesthetic inquiry into debates about sexuality, objectification, and representation.
— Kirkus Reviews
On this grand tour of western visual culture, you couldn’t ask for a better guide.
— Bridget Quinn, author of Broad Strokes
Catherine McCormack succeeds in the nearly impossible task of discussing both the representation of women throughout the history of art as well as how women artists have challenged these male-centric images.
— Kathy Battista, author of New York New Wave
The art book we’ve all been waiting for.
— Helen Gørrill, author of Women Can’t Paint
I’m glad this book was written because it felt like the scales were falling from my eyes as I read it.
— Jan Patience - Herald