Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Hiding genre distinctions and finding gender divides: an iconographic, formal, and contextual analysis of James Tissot's Hide and Seek

Resisting the standard categories of genre, James Tissot's Hide and Seek operates within the contexts of studio portraits and domestic scenes. Thus, while registering the character and status of the artist, the painting presents a particular image of the domestic realm and familial relations. It also lends itself to a gendered reading, which is here informed by a discussion of the Aesthetic Movement, Japonisme, and the ties between each of these movements and contemporary conceptions of femininity. In the face of Aestheticism's perceived threat to the masculinity of artist and studio, Hide and Seek reaffirms the ideology of separate spheres. It achieves this end by depersonalizing, objectifying, commodifying, and enclosing the female inhabitants of Tissot's home-studio while evoking an invisible, externalized male presence that seems to resist capture and domestication and to maintain subjectivity, agency, and mobility.