Read In Between... The Presence Of Books In Women's Paintings

794 words - 4 pages

Whether it is painting, collecting objects, or reading books, items that Eleanor Norcross took interest in were meaningful to her in many ways. These remaining items of Norcross, although are dispersed across museums, they each reveal something pertaining to who Norcross is as a person, artist, and a woman. It is also no coincidence there are presence of several different subjects appearing in many of Norcross paintings which has a deeper meaning then what is on the surface. In this exhibition of celebrating and honoring Norcross, I decided to focus on the importance of the presence of books/reading materials. I will explore this simple yet powerful object that shaped the person that Eleanor became. The presence of books in Norcross paintings represents her as an individual, a painter and the issues she stood for. Within this project, I will also compare and contrast the presence of books of another woman artist, Mary Cassatt to that of Norcross's to analyze the social meaning behind books in paintings. Norcross’s and Cassatt’s that include books/reading materials are no longer ordinary objects in my exhibition. For these literary objects meanings and values, meaning the presence of books in Norcross and Cassatt paintings impacted the legacies they left behind.
Today, books or any form of reading might just seem as an ordinary object to others with no importance. However, books are powerful in a sense of yielding knowledge and opening the mind of an individual, like Norcross and Cassatt. Eleanor having being born and raised into a well oriented family in the 18th century allowed her to have access to education. Her father, Amasa, being a very prominent figure in Norcross life, had instilled many lessons and values in her upbringing. In particular the development of Norcross love for reading and writing. This is a conclusion which I came to, for the most of the self-portraits of Amasa, involved him reading a material newspapers and books. Amasa reading in two different paintings at two different time periods, perceived Amasa as a person who loved to read, was intelligent and a wise individual. By being raised most of her life by her father whom is depicted as a lover of books, no doubt he greatly impacted and fostered Eleanor’s interest in books. It is not to be said, that Amasa is the sole reason for cultivating Eleanor’s love for...

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