HUAS 6312 Art and Society

-Spring 2012 Love and Marriage in Eighteenth-Century Portraiture by Heather Macdonald, taught in collaboration with Amy Freund, TCU and the Dallas Museum of Art, a Texas Fund for Curatorial Research Seminar
This seminar explored Enlightenment philosophy and social theory in the 18th century and how these concepts shaped the way people conceived of love and marriage. The course’s content focused on portraits of married couples in 18th-century Europe and America and how these representations intervened in contemporary debates about conjugal love and the family. An interdisciplinary approach was undertaken, drawing on primary and secondary sources from the fields of art history, history and literary studies. Although portraiture was the main focus, some of which make up the DMA’s collection, its relationship to genre painting and material culture were also considered. The goal was aimed to situate marriage portraiture in both the 18th and 21st century discourses about gender, social status and visual representation. In an effort to enrich the students’ understanding of this artistic and historic moment, five internationally recognized scholars were invited to present their research to the seminar.¬†