Evelyn de Morgan's Portrait of Jane Morris (study for The Hourglass) and the Politics of Gender in Pre-Raphaelite Art
AbstractThis thesis examines an understudied aspect of an extensively-studied movement: the role of women as artists and models in Pre-Raphaelite art. Focusing on a singular image of a popular Pre-Raphaelite model by a woman artist - Evelyn de Morgan's Portrait of Jane Morris (study for The Hourglass) from 1904-I am to contribute to the growing scholarship surrounding the vastly underrepresented women artists of Pre-Raphaelitism, while also investigating their influences in the development and recognition of women artists, the feminine image in art, and gender roles and expectations up until the contemporary age.Evelyn de Morgan's Portrait of Jane Morris (study for The Hourglass) presents a unique image of Morris in her later life, contrasting strongly with the radiant and stylized young woman that Dante Gabriel Rossetti had made iconic in the 1860s and 1870s. Here Jane Morris is presented with silvery grey hair pinned up to the nape of her neck, a sharp departure from the signature long billowing brown hair that formed a highlight of Rossetti's many well-known images of Morris. De Morgan further emphasizes signs of age in the crease of Morris's furrowed brow, the darkened circles under her eyes, and the broad width of her nose. Interestingly, none of these descriptors of age are carried over into the painting for which this image serves as a study, The Hourglass of 1905. By analyzing the singular qualities of de Morgan's approach to Morris as a model, and by situating those qualities in relationship to Pre-Raphaelite art and the complex place of women within that movement, I hope to challenge conventional narratives of Pre-Raphaelitism by re-asserting the specificity and diversity of women's contributions as both artists and models.
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