Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 12-2016

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Véronique Olivier


The research I have conducted for my French Major Senior Thesis is a culmination of my passion for and studies of both French language and culture and the history and practice of Visual Arts. I have examined, across the history of art, the representation of women, and concluded that until the 20th century, these representations have been tools employed by the makers of history and those at the top of the patriarchal system, used to control women’s images and thus women themselves. I survey these representations, which are largely created by men—until the 20th century. I discuss pre-historical portrayals in the form of fertility figurines, the representation of Marie Antoinette, (Queen at Versailles during the late 18th century), by portraitist Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun, and depictions of women in impressionism, a male-centric modernist art movement of the mid-19th century. The remainder of my research centers on female French artists and their work (e.g., Louise Bourgeois, Annette Messager, Agnès Varda), emerging in the 20th century, grounded in writings by French theorist Hélène Cixous, who calls for “l’écriture feminine,” or female writing—women writing their own stories. I argue that, finally, proper representations of women are created due to the fact that women themselves are creating them. The common denominator in these women’s work is the authenticity of communicating their own experience. In conclusion, my intention is to show how and why the art historical canon is flawed, to introduce audiences to women creating their own representations, and to examine our cultural landscape regarding gender representation and how women may identify and create as a result.

Included in

American Art and Architecture Commons, American Popular Culture Commons, Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity Commons, Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture Commons, Art Practice Commons, Byzantine and Modern Greek Commons, Christianity Commons, Classical Archaeology and Art History Commons, Classical Literature and Philology Commons, Contemporary Art Commons, Cultural History Commons, Education Policy Commons, European History Commons, European Languages and Societies Commons, Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Fiber, Textile, and Weaving Arts Commons, Film Production Commons, Fine Arts Commons, French and Francophone Literature Commons, French Linguistics Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, History of Gender Commons, History of Religion Commons, History of Religions of Western Origin Commons, Illustration Commons, Intellectual History Commons, Interdisciplinary Arts and Media Commons, Legal Commons, Modern Art and Architecture Commons, Modern Languages Commons, Modern Literature Commons, Museum Studies Commons, Nonfiction Commons, Other Arts and Humanities Commons, Other Classics Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Film and Media Studies Commons, Other French and Francophone Language and Literature Commons, Other History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology Commons, Painting Commons, Photography Commons, Political History Commons, Politics and Social Change Commons, Printmaking Commons, Public History Commons, Race and Ethnicity Commons, Screenwriting Commons, Sculpture Commons, Social History Commons, Theory and Criticism Commons, Translation Studies Commons, United States History Commons, Visual Studies Commons, Women's History Commons, Women's Studies Commons