Dawkins examines the forces that made the nude a contentious image in the early Third Republic. Analyzing the evolving relationship between the fine-art nude, print culture and censorship, Heather Dawkins explores how artists, art critics, politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, and judges evaluated the nude. She shows how spectatorship of the nude was refracted through the ideals of art, femininity, republican liberty, and public decency. An art form made for and by men, the nude was rarely the subject of serious engagement on the part of women. A few, nevertheless, attempted to take up the issues and challenges of the nude. Dawkins investigates in detail how these women reshaped the genre of the nude and its spectatorship in order for it to accommodate their own experience and subjectivity.
'An erudite, insightful account ... a fascinating, revealing examination of an exciting time in art.' Antiques Magazine
"This valuable book on the nude in French art and culture, which offers fascinating new material and careful analysis, will be richly rewarding for art historians and scholars in the humanities." CAA Reviews
"In an era of deep political and cultural conservatism in which gender roles are being steadily remapped, layered over familiar, traditional, and seemingly safe ones, Dawkins's examination of the female nude is a welcome addition to an already substantial corpus."