Alt Title

Nineteenth century feminine archetypes||Feminist approach to the allegory of liberty

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Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

School of Art


Liberty in art; Women in art--History--19th century; Symbolism in art--France; Feminism and art--France--History--19th century


This thesis began as a study of images of women used in representation of strong, masculine, abstract ideals. It was narrowed to discuss images of Liberty in France during the nineteenth century. The research questioned why strongly masculine ideals such as liberty were represented with female figures during an era when the feminine half of humanity was considered at best second class and at worst nonexistent. French politics, culture, art, and literature were studied to form an idea of the pervasive views existing during that century. The thesis looked at two prevailing archetypes of female imagery that existed in nineteenth-century French art and literature, the Virgin Mary/Mother and the Temptress Eve/Whore. The thesis examined these two archetypes in terms of their various characteristics and discussed their use throughout the era. Then, a comparison was made between these archetypes and the allegorical images of Liberty. Also, the idea and use of allegory was studied throughout history. This allowed for a more accurate view of allegorical use during that time. Finally, the image of Liberty itself, in all its various forms, both twodimensional and three-dimensional as well as live representation, was extensively researched. Many variations exist and were popular during the nineteenth century. For the thesis itself, several examples were noted and two main artistic renderings were studied in depth. These were Eugene Delacroix's painting Liberty Leading the People and Francois Rude's sculptural relief Departure of the Volunteers.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [99]-101)


vi, 101 pages




Northern Illinois University

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