Right now I am at that exciting part of my college career where I get to figure out a topic for an honors thesis for my art history major.  Admittedly (and probably weirdly), I’m pretty enthusiastic about this and have sacrificed all of my actual papers due this week to research topics for this, which I’m not even supposed to start for like 4 months I don’t think.  But in any case, I’ve finalized a topic with my thesis director and am prepared to throw back into the water the flopping around, almost dead fish which are my previous attempts at a topic.  So here, for your viewing pleasure, are some cool (or at least I think they are) tidbits from art history that I came upon in my search…

  1. Les Femmes Tondues – after the liberation of France from the Nazis in 1944, women accused of sleeping with German officers ceremoniously had their heads shaved in public areas like city squares, fountains, or war memorials.  Some interesting writing has been done by the historian Richard D.E. Burton about the French love of and delight in gruesome spectacle; my intent would have been to view les Femmes Tondues as a performance of indirect feminine castration, also in consideration to visuality as identity.
  1. Victor Hugo’s graphic work – most people don’t realize that apart from being a writer, Victor Hugo did do some kind of weird art.  Most of it is things you would expect, like dark Romantic castles or stormy landscapes, but then there are also his drawing titled “Justitia,” of a guillotined head being thrust into the sky by the force of the decapitation.  It is probably good I didn’t pursue this topic further because I have no idea what to make of that.
  1. Pornographic prints of Marie-Antoinette – there are a million valid reasons as to why this topic was a problem from the start. Number one being that it would be a thesis on porn.  Regardless, there are a lot of very interesting prints of the queen, mostly because of the way they single her out and scapegoat her solely because of her gender.  There are also some great ones of her as mythic animals, which is always fun.
Hugos Justitia
Hugo's "Justitia"


Just a U of M junior living the art history dream.

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