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Tricky, Fine, and Trapped: Painting the Femme Forte in Early Seventeenth-Century France

Marika Takanishi Knowles

Online veröffentlicht:

19 Apr 2019

Zusammenfassung

Abstract

Between the late 1620s and late 1640s, Jacques Blanchard, Simon Vouet, and Claude Vignon all painted the femme forte (strong woman), an exemplary, heroic femal type whose popularity was linked to the presence of Marie de Medici and Anne of Austria on the royal stage of France. This article puts early seventeenth-century French paintings of femmes fortes into conversation with period discourse regarding the reception of paintings and the status of women. Pictorial representation tended to cast the femme forte into contexts that compromised her exemplary status. Nude, on the verge of death by her own hand, the figure of the femme forte invited the very kind of sensual consumption that the femme forte herself attempted to disavow. Yet the ultimate threat posed by the femme forte was that her image might ‘trick’ male viewers into unwise actions.

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