Förhöjd sanning. Skönhet, smink och samhällsordning, 1720-1820
2016 (Swedish)In: Lychnos, ISSN 0076-1648, 35-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In this article on the critique of face painting during the 18th and early 19th century, I argue that face painting was a part of the visualization of gendered social order. I conceive the critique and the growing emphasis on women’s natural ability to please men as a consequence of the growth of sociability. A main point is that the explicit critique of face painting was based on its implicit acceptance, as long as it was contained within younger women of the middling sorts, as well as within the dominant ideal of beauty, the petrarcan tradition of red and white.
I also claim that the ideal of the natural within the critique wasn’t very natural at all, which came from a reluctance to accept real naturalness, represented socially by the peasant classes and esthetically by disease and early aging. Face painting stood in a complex relation with a double physiognomy which explained two different truths: the widespread conception that the face was the window of the soul, and the likewise widespread idea that the hierarchic order of society was legible in the faces and appearances of its different members. Within the ideal of natural beauty face painting thus became a tool for disciplining young women. The new, more heterogenic social life created possibilities for women to take on public roles, which lead to an increased will to discipline them and emphasize their subordinate and complementary position through a strengthened rhetoric of natural beauty.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lärdomhistoriska sällskapet , 2016. 35-58 p.
Beauty, face-painting, cosmetics, women, eighteenth century
History of Ideas
Research subject Historical Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-32297OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-32297DiVA: diva2:1083825
ProjectsSESO: Seeing and enacting social order