Paragons of Virtue

Paragons of Virtue : Women and Domesticity in 17th Century Dutch Art

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Paragons of Virtue is the first systematic analysis of domestic paintings, which were among the most popular and endearing images produced by Dutch artists during the Golden Century. Focusing on their broader function and significance within Dutch culture, this study has made extensive use of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century family treatises that are important sources for understanding these paintings. These hortatory texts are significant, because they reflect contemporary attitudes towards women as they are paradigmatically presented as maidens, housewives skilled in the administration of household affairs, as attentive mothers, and as pious widows. In short, family literature corroborates the existence of general ideals as well as specific ideas about women and domesticity as expressed through art. Through its rich source material and the paintings themselves, Paragons of Virtue sheds further light on the position of women in seventeenth-century Dutch society and on the critical role that art played in early modern Europe in espousing and maintaining the patriarchal status quo.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 293 pages
  • 200 x 261 x 24mm | 1,131g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 172 Halftones, unspecified
  • 0521431298
  • 9780521431293

Table of contents

Preface; List of Illustrations; Introduction; Notes to the introduction; 1. Maeght and Vryster; Notes to chapter 1; 2. Bruyt and Vrouwe; Notes to chapter 2; 3. Moeder; Notes to chapter 3; 4. Weduwe; Notes to chapter 4; Conclusion; Bibliography; Illustarted captions.
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Review quote

"Franits presents his results with a very readable and carefully documented argument. His thematically grouped corpus is well arranged in order for him to prove his posited thesis of the conventional imagery of the paintings." Maria-Theresia Leuker, Volkskundig Bulletin "How interesting is the material that Franits has gathered, and how exhaustive his footnotes are....For everyone who is interested in the art (history) of women and the family in the Dutch Golden Age, this book is warmly recommended." Els Kloek, De zeventiende eeuw ."..interesting and richly illustrated...." Jacqueline Wesselius, Trouw (Dutch newspaper) "Franits's book is indispensable, a fitting culmination to numerous articles and exhibition catalogues appearing in the past decade that have treated individual pictures of domestic life...Franits's writing, like the overall presentation, is disarmingly simple and elegant, while his selection of pictures is nicely balanced between canonical, oft-discussed works and pictures rarely, if ever, reproduced." Martha Hollander, The Art Bulletin ."..this is an excellent addition to the literature." Charles Ford, The Burlington Magazine "Franits is most convincing in his iconographic discussions of book illustrations. Also informative are his discussions of genrelike portraiture..." Martha Moffit Peacock, Woman's Art Journal
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