Master of Arts (MA)
The neoclassical art movement exemplified the ideals formulated by German scholar and antiquarian Johan Winckelmann by portraying heroes who exhibited self-sacrifice, honor and duty to the state. Almost inevitably both painters and their subjects were male. However, at the same time female artists were depicting classical heroines in a similar fashion. Angelica Kauffman, a Swiss born artist, was able to combine Winckelmann’s thoughts with Enlightenment ideals of the eighteenth century regarding women. When examined in tandem, her numerous canvases which portray Cornelia, Mother of the Gracchi and Penelope, Wife of Odysseus illustrate Enlightenment ideals. The character of Cornelia, exemplifies independence, the importance of education for women, and women’s ever increasing dedication to their children and motherhood. Penelope also shows independence and the necessity of education, but her character focuses more on women as respectful and respected wives within the marital sphere. By creating paintings that exhibited these notions, Kauffman portrayed her own Enlightenment leanings.
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Batts, Brandi L., "An Analysis of Angelica Kauffman's Cornelia and Penelope Paintings as they Relate to Female Enlightenment Ideals" (2014). LSU Master's Theses. 3858.