Masculinities in Victorian Painting: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Masculinities in Victorian Painting

1st Edition

By Joseph A. Kestner


344 pages

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Paperback: 9781138269002
pub: 2016-11-17
Hardback: 9781859281086
pub: 1995-03-16
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This fully illustrated study examines the construction of masculinity in culture based on an analysis of pictorial representations of the male in a wide range of contexts: social, historical, legal, literary, institutional, anthropological, educational, marital, imperial and aesthetic. Powerful images from the work of dozens of Victorian artists - from Leighton, Waterhouse, Burne-Jones and Alma-Tadema to Dicksee, Pettie, Watts, Woodville and Tuke to name a few - are used to illustrate the 5 key paradigms of masculinity: the classical hero, the gallant knight, the challenged paterfamilias, the valiant soldier and the male nude. Aspects of 20th-century theory such as rescue compulsion, male sexuality, the male gaze and racial ideas are also considered. The author concludes that maleness was, and is, learned and 19th-century ideas still influence the construction of manhood today; that social institutions are influenced by, and themselves use, artistic representation; that artistic images strongly influence ideas of gender; and that multi-disciplinary cultural study is the best way to examine the formation of gender ideologies.


'A rich source of information and comment on less-known Victorian painters.’ TLS

'Useful insights into masculinity as a factor in nineteenth-century British culture.’ Oxford Art Journal

'Powerful and provocative text … overall commanding caliber of thought and scholarship.’ Albion

'Kestner's book is an outstanding example of an interdisciplinary study equally expert in theory, literature and art.’ Victorian Periodicals Review

'This book…provides a useful survey of the recent literature on masculinites, and draws attention to what has been a neglected subject.’ Art History

'This thoughtful book, profusely illustrated in sharply defined black-and -white plates, will repay attention by students of both gender studies and Victorian art.’ Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

'Kestner’s book is enormously important. He offers a pioneering exploration of the range of masculinities represented in British painting from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s…Art, literary, and social historians as well as theorists will find Masculinities in Victorian Painting invaluable.’ Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: List of Plates; Acknowledgements; Artistic Representation and the Construction of Masculinity; The Classical Hero; The Gallant Knight; The Challenged Paterfamilias; The Valiant Soldier; The Male Nude; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / Romanticism
ART / Techniques / Painting