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Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form

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Marina Warner explores the tradition of personifying liberty, justice, wisdom, charity, and other ideals and desiderata in the female form, and examines the tension between women's historic and symbolic roles. Drawing on the evidence of public art, especially sculpture, and painting, poetry, and classical mythology, she ranges over the allegorical presence of the woman in Marina Warner explores the tradition of personifying liberty, justice, wisdom, charity, and other ideals and desiderata in the female form, and examines the tension between women's historic and symbolic roles. Drawing on the evidence of public art, especially sculpture, and painting, poetry, and classical mythology, she ranges over the allegorical presence of the woman in the Western tradition with a sharply observant eye and a piquant and engaging style.


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Marina Warner explores the tradition of personifying liberty, justice, wisdom, charity, and other ideals and desiderata in the female form, and examines the tension between women's historic and symbolic roles. Drawing on the evidence of public art, especially sculpture, and painting, poetry, and classical mythology, she ranges over the allegorical presence of the woman in Marina Warner explores the tradition of personifying liberty, justice, wisdom, charity, and other ideals and desiderata in the female form, and examines the tension between women's historic and symbolic roles. Drawing on the evidence of public art, especially sculpture, and painting, poetry, and classical mythology, she ranges over the allegorical presence of the woman in the Western tradition with a sharply observant eye and a piquant and engaging style.

30 review for Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    If you watched the Olympics, you know who Gabby Douglas is. This young lady (she's 16) won both an individual gold and a team gold in gymnastics. She became the first Afro-American woman to do so, her family is supportive and middle/lower class, her father served in both the Afghan and Iraq actions. Her mother believed iin her daughter so much she allowed Gabby to move to Iowa to train. The young lady is talented, and so what did people talk about once she won? Her talent? Her family's lack of b If you watched the Olympics, you know who Gabby Douglas is. This young lady (she's 16) won both an individual gold and a team gold in gymnastics. She became the first Afro-American woman to do so, her family is supportive and middle/lower class, her father served in both the Afghan and Iraq actions. Her mother believed iin her daughter so much she allowed Gabby to move to Iowa to train. The young lady is talented, and so what did people talk about once she won? Her talent? Her family's lack of bling? Her family's dedication? Her dedication? No. People talked about her hair. I'm not sure why. Her hair looked like hair. It was in a ponytail. What were people thinking? That a gymnast should have Beyonce hair? And it wasn't just Douglas that gained the comments. Accordng to an Austrilian paper, at least one of the women swimmers looks like she is retarded. According to other sources, none of the female swimmers is good looking. Perhaps because they didn't have Ryan Lockte's grill? Is anyone really shocked at the focus on women's rears during the beach volleyball (a tough sport, really, because of the sand. But it's the look that gets the attention, not the skill). There is the syrncoized swimming and rhymntic gymnastics that are women only (despite the fact that there are men who do the sport) and feature women in not much clothing. Oh, and now, women have to prove they are women. And that's not mentioning NBC Bodies in Motion spot. Did you see that? Michael Phelps doesn't have to worry about any of that. He could even say he pees in the pool during the race and no one blinks. But his female teammates apparently should be wearing make-up and flinging thier hair around. Warner's book is about the female form in art, and what various depictions can mean. She ties it to the ancient legends as well as saint tales. She makes an intersting connection between Eve and Lady Godiva. It is hard to disagree with her observations, such as a women in monument form is a symbol of something; a man can be himself even if he symbolizes something. Her comments on sexuality and chasity, seem aptly linked to the view of women Olympic atheletes, who no matter what their skill seem to have be both sexual and non-sexual. Which means, despite the books publication date, it is still rather current today. Replace Warner's discussion of Thatcher with say Hilary Clinton. Look at how we view nakeness today in art and Warner's comments are still, depressingly, timely.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elena Sala

    MONUMENTS AND MAIDENS is an impressive piece of scholarly work, both erudite and engaging. In this text, Warner reflects on a general paradox about the representation of the female in art: figures of women are conventionally chosen to personify an ideal, while most women are (and have been) excluded from pursuing that ideal practically. She muses about the statues that adorn many western cities (London, Paris, among others) which embody abstract principles (principles such as Freedom, Justice, Tr MONUMENTS AND MAIDENS is an impressive piece of scholarly work, both erudite and engaging. In this text, Warner reflects on a general paradox about the representation of the female in art: figures of women are conventionally chosen to personify an ideal, while most women are (and have been) excluded from pursuing that ideal practically. She muses about the statues that adorn many western cities (London, Paris, among others) which embody abstract principles (principles such as Freedom, Justice, Truth, Nature, Victory, etc) and finds that they are always represented by women. In English, and in many other languages, abstract virtues are usually gendered femenine. Why is this? Not because women have been more free, or just or truthful. Her answer to this question yields some interesting surprises. Her substantial research provides plenty of evidence of how the use of female iconography has proved detrimental to female rights. Moreover, the accumulation of sound scholarly evidence allows her to introduce many powerful elements of cultural critique. It is a dense, ambitious and informative book, ideal for readers interested in feminism and art.

  3. 5 out of 5

    anna marie

    Amazing and very interesting as usual. Marina is a Wonder Woman of literature, culture and ideas themselves- a richly researched and deeply informative and eye-opening book. For lovers of Art (and Art History), Feminism and Gender.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark Reid

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Malsich

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carlotta

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne-irene Zimmermann

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lheer

  13. 5 out of 5

    sirge

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alison

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lupe Fernandez

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stone Symes

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Higgins

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Goulding

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Woodburn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fanie Demeule

  25. 5 out of 5

    Martin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trudy O'Hara

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lin Collette

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