La Vénus Noire
Instructor: Julia Knowlton
A one-day intensive course!
From the 19th century to the present day, the black female form has been both revered and denigrated by white writers and painters in France, serving as a source of inspiration and artistic creativity. In the first half of this course, we will trace the “Black Venus” in 19th-century France, specifically in the poetry of Charles Baudelaire (via the figures of Jeanne Duval and Dorothée), the paintings of Paul Gauguin, and Claire de Duras’ 1800 text, Ourika.
This relegation to the mere role of exotic Other has been confounded in the 20th century, where Francophone female writers and artists of color have reclaimed and forcefully affirmed the complex realities of black female subjectivity. In the second half of our course, we will explore the contributions of key figures in this history, including Josephine Baker, Maryse Condé, and Hélène Cixous.
Note: Course participants will be invited to join an informal visit to the Musée d’Orsay on Sunday, 9 October, to view several works related to the course, including Manet’s “Olympia,” with a focus on the decentered black figure who has now been identified as Laure. The visit is optional and not an “official” part of the course; museum tickets are not included in the enrollment fee.
Maximum enrollment: 10
Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00
8 October 2022
6 hours (including a lunch break)
All PICT courses are held in person.
All PICT courses are exclusive for PICT Members. Become a member from 3 euros/month.
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