Two beheadings and a haircut: The (mis) treatment of biblical women in Belle Époque painting

Sproull, Katie Louise (2018) Two beheadings and a haircut: The (mis) treatment of biblical women in Belle Époque painting. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is playfully entitled “Two Beheadings and a Haircut” due to my focus on three biblical women: Salome and Judith, who each belong to a ‘beheading narrative’ and Delilah, who hacks off a man’s hair. Throughout this thesis, I examine nine diverse paintings from the Belle Époque period and analyse why artists from an assortment of cultural movements approach these characters similarly; eroticising and vilifying them as femmes fatales. I will consider the artists’ respective motives for the (often drastic) modifications of biblical narratives and investigate why they emphasised or ignored specific facets of the characters’ pretextual and metatextual personalities.

I will explore the biblical texts of each respective figure and her on-canvas life using three case studies per woman. I also approach these paintings while foregrounding the historical, social, and political contexts of each artist, and the influence such conditions had on their perceptions of women. This thesis is interdisciplinary in nature and I have conducted research into each artist’s life, the social movements and political situations of their countries, and their influences from literature, theatre, and other artists.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: biblical studies, Judges, Book of Judith, Matthew, Mark, Salome, Judith, Delilah, old testament, new testament, art history, feminism, nineteenth century, twentieth century, femme fatale, impressionism, expressionism, academic art, orientalism, symbolism, Gustave Moreau, Henri Regnault, Franz von Stuck, Max Oppenheimer, Gustav Klimt, Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Gustav Adolf-Mossa, Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, European Art.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Pattison, Professor George and Nicholson, Doctor Sarah
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Ms Katie L Sproull
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-9122
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2018 16:14
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2018 09:16

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