The Painted Witch: How Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women

Edwin B. Mullins, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $25 (230p) ISBN 978-0-88184-200-5
Women have frequently been portrayed by male artists as manageable stereotypesmindless, harmless or bad. Matisse was obsessed by women but pictured them as pretty shapes that blended with the carpet. One of Klimt's females, cloaked in gold, is both an icon and a ""super-doll,'' passive and mute. Miro, Nolde and Picasso dwelt on the image of woman as man-eater, usurper of male power. Mullins, a British art critic, has written a brilliant, devastating, richly illustrated study of how men's attitudes toward women are revealed in art. Bridging compartmentalized disciplines and writing in an offhandedly candid style, he comments that ``paintings have performed a wonderful public-relations job'' of promoting the Christian ideal of the virgin. He plumbs depths of male hostility concealed in portrayals of maidens, martyrs, whores, mothers and actresses. And he offers sympathetic comments on positive depictions of womenfor example, Rembrandt's portraits of his wife, Saskia, brimming with enormous affection. November 15
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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