VISIONS OF URANIA: WOMEN, ART, AND ASTRONOMY IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPE Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
Creator
  • Woodin, Diane
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, Art History
Abstract
  • My dissertation analyzes the ways in which the visual culture of astronomy brought together discourses of self, gender, and social place within the intellectual circles of eighteenth-century Europe through the efforts of three women with connections to the Académie des Sciences in Paris (Maria Clara Eimmart, the Duchesse du Maine, and Marquise du Châtelet). I argue that each of the women strategically affiliated themselves with Urania, the muse of astronomy to stake a claim in Natural Philosophy through their artwork or patronage. Several images of the figure Urania emphasize the close association between the depiction of the allegorical body and the femme savante (learned woman) in portraiture. The little-known oeuvre of Nuremburg artist and astronomer Maria Clara Eimmart-Müller showcases a masterful interest in celestial imagery that is made all the more compelling by strategies of mimicry, networking and appropriation. François de Troy’s painting, La Leçon d’astronomie de la duchesse du Maine (c.1704), in which the portrayal of the Duchesse du Maine hails the muse of astronomy, illustrates how du Maine took avantage of Enlightened curiosity to draw the most elite of the literati to her court. Portraits of the Marquise du Châtelet tested the boundaries of private/public study even as her affiliation with Urania facilitated her personal quest or knowledge.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
Advisor
  • Bowles, John
  • Hyde, Melissa
  • Sherman, Daniel
  • Sheriff, Mary
  • Magee, Carol
  • Allmendinger, Carolyn
Degree
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018
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