TITLE

The Face of the Public

AUTHOR(S)
Lukasik, Christopher J.
PUB. DATE
September 2004
SOURCE
Early American Literature;Sep2004, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p413
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Literary Criticism
ABSTRACT
This article seeks to complement recent explanations of the body's relationship to the public in the postrevolutionary period by situating two texts—Philip Freneau's "The Picture Gallery" and Hugh Henry Brackenridge's "Modern Chivalry"—into the contemporary discourses of portraiture and physiognomy that they invoke. Following the recent work of art historians John Barrell, Wendy Bellion, Dorinda Evans, Brandon Fortune, Margaretta Lovell, and Ellen Miles, the author explores how postrevolutionary American culture—its public portrait galleries, waxwork figures, prints, sculpture, profile portraits, silhouettes, and printed biographical portrait galleries—utilized the face to represent the abstract ideals of civic virtue and communicate exemplary character and thus participated in creating what Robert Saint George has called a visual national imaginary. The analysis focuses specifically on why the rise in postrevolutionary public portraiture would be described as a political liability by Freneau in "The Picture Gallery" and as a possible benefit for the democracy by Brackenridge in "Modern Chivalry." Freneau's "The Picture Gallery" identifies the rapid expansion in access to portraiture, the growing commercial self-interest of the portrait painter, and the rise of public portrait galleries of distinguished Americans as symptoms of a larger generic crisis in the civic function of portraiture.
ACCESSION #
13853030

 

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics