Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Identifier

944

Date

2013

Date of Award

7-24-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Art History

Concentration

General Art History

Committee Chair

Earnestine L. Jenkins

Committee Member

Carol Crown

Committee Member

William Carlisle McKeown

Abstract

Representations of Women in Casta Paintings of Colonial Mexico explores the power relations between men and women represented in casta paintings of the eighteenth century. I provide an overview of the genre of casta painting and its relation to the sistema de castas, the social arrangement based on lineages intended to sustain the power of the Spanish elite. I examine how casta scenes reinforce the authority of the Spanish male. The social construction of gender, separate spheres of men and women, and the notion of "true womanhood" are recurrent themes. I argue that casta scenes reinforced the expected norms of female behavior. Social codes of conduct varied by class, and I argue that elite, white women are portrayed as ideal women in contrast to mixed-race women. By focusing on gender, this thesis provides a new perspective on this genre, enriching our knowledge of the life experiences of women in colonial Mexico.

Comments

Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.

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