Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
History of Art
While recent scholarship has focused attention on the body, the complicated relationship between clothing or costume and identity merits a sustained analysis in Francisco Goya's art. This thesis explores the various meanings of fashion current in eighteenth-century Spain, a time period in which fashionability was a source of instability, both in terms of the contemporary debate on luxury and adornment and in terms of Goya's work and life. Clothing is considered as one of the key performative aspects of identity. Central to this thesis is a discussion of the uncertain gendered status and legibility of the petimetre, a fashionable fop often ridiculed for his foreign and effeminate trappings, as viewed through the intersection of popular culture and costume. In particular, Goya's Magic Mirror drawings become a means to understand some of Goya's self-portraits, as well as Goya's choice to underscore ambiguity in his sexually charged depiction of hermaphrodites.
Drawings are examined as examples of visual thinking that expose an artistic process that can be thought of as performative, a concept that is explored in relation to gesture, costume, and identity. Many of Goya's drawings and prints engage with notions of performance both in terms of ritualized behaviors of seeing and being seen in Spanish society and also in terms of Goya's artistic “performance,” his response to Spanish artistic tradition.
O'Halloran, Deirdre A. "The [Il]legibility of Character: Gesture, Costume, and Identity in Goya." PhD Diss., Bryn Mawr College, 2007.