Literary responses to paintings and prints by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) and other artists of the early modern Netherlands show that art theorists and connoisseurs appreciated the artist’s ability to capture the emotional nuances of a subject. This lecture explores one fundamental aspect of emotional display, the shedding of tears, as represented in historical subjects and portraits. Visual and literary sources reveal patterns in the social significance of emotion, and specifically of sorrow, as related to gender and circumstance. The depiction of tearful emotion constituted a key element in the representation of human, especially female, subjectivity and prompted complex responses in contemporary viewers.
Next Free Public Lecture:
26 Jun 2013