Date of Award
Master of Arts
General Art History
Earnestine L. Jenkins
William Carlisle McKeown
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.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Glover, Lacie Ellen, "Representations of Women in Casta Paintings of Colonial Mexico" (2013). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 794.