Please REGISTER AT LEAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE by calling The French Class at (415) 362-3666
The same conference is offered three times at The French Class:
“Nourishment for the mind and soul,” reading remained a forbidden fruit for women throughout much of history, patriarchal societies keeping the knowledge of books locked away from them. And yet, in painting, women have often been portrayed with a book to convey piety, privilege, luxury, virtue, temptation or leisure. Christian iconography multiplied images of devotional reading. Women were also painted tutoring their child with a Bible or Book of Hours. Renaissance portraiture of aristocratic women shows them with a book—a rare and expensive commodity at the time. The Enlightenment depicted reading as an intellectual activity or the book as symbol of cultural refinement. How did female readers come of age in the 19th Century, as they engaged in a subjective and occasionally subversive experience? Finally, overcoming centuries of social restraints and paternalistic surveillance, the freedom for women to read translated into the many statements of modern art.