Art for lunch Pre-Raphaelite Redheads: Gender, Race and Religion in Victorian History Painting

Classes, Lessons, Workshops and Talks

14 Feb 2019

Keren Hammerschlag is a visiting lecturer at ANU, and her research interests focus on Victorian and Edwardian art and visual culture, gender, race, and the body. She teaches courses on Art and Medicine, British Art, Art of Empire, and Gender and the Body in Victorian Art and Visual Culture.

In scenes set in distant times and faraway lands, Victorian painters of history, including members and former members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, were able to experiment with the depiction of racial difference, racial conflict and racial hybridity. Biblical subjects, in particular, offered artists an opportunity to give visual form to a lineage that connected the ancient Israelites, via Christ, to modern-day Victorians. But Christ and his racial origins posed a particular challenge: what was the race from which He sprung? And what did that race look like? A survey of Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene and Judas, along with other Biblical and literary figures, reveals Christ to be a religious, temporal and racial hybrid, standing at the intersection of the ‘Orient’ and the ‘Occident,’ Judaism and Christianity, the Semitic and Anglo-Saxon races—rather like the artists who painted him.


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14 Feb 2019

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National Gallery of Australia

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