Catherine McCormack, "Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies" (Norton, 2021)

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Art historian Catherine McCormack challenges how culture teaches us to see and value women, their bodies, and their lives.

Venus, maiden, wife, mother, monster—women have been bound so long by these restrictive roles, codified by patriarchal culture, that we scarcely see them. In Women in the Picture: What Culture Does with Female Bodies (Norton, 2021), Catherine McCormack illuminates the assumptions behind these stereotypes whether writ large or subtly hidden. She ranges through Western art—think Titian, Botticelli, and Millais—and the image-saturated world of fashion photographs, advertisements, and social media, and boldly counters these depictions by turning to the work of women artists like Morisot, Ringgold, Lacy, and Walker, who offer alternative images for exploring women’s identity, sexuality, race, and power in more complex ways.

Allison Leigh is Assistant Professor of Art History and the SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Endowed Professor in Art & Architecture at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research explores masculinity in European and Russian art of the eighteenth through the early twentieth centuries.

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