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Moreau's Materiality

Title: Moreau's Materiality: Polymorphic Subjects, Degeneration, and Physicality.
Name(s): Slavkin, Mary C., author
Weingarden, Lauren, professor directing thesis
Emmerson, Richard, committee member
Jolles, Adam, committee member
Department of Art History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2009
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In this thesis I explore the concept of materiality in Gustave Moreau's oeuvre. For Moreau, this was an important concept, which influenced his art in a variety of different ways. Looking at three interpretations of the concept, I show how Moreau reconsidered this concept in many practical and theoretical ways throughout his career. I look at Moreau's repeated depictions of the same subjects, showing how he saw the subject as a suggestion with many possible material interpretations. In addition to considering Moreau's widely-varied conceptions of the subject of Salome, I also show how the writers who described his paintings saw the works themselves as similarly suggestive, elaborating on what they saw in the paintings. Next, I look at how Moreau responded to contemporary theories of degeneration, showing women and animals as physical and sexual threats to man's transcendence. I consider three themes he explored in this process: flesh-eating animals, combined human and animal body parts, and bestiality. Finally, I look at Moreau's focus on the physical surfaces of his paintings. Moreau struggled with the problem of how to depict immaterial ideas using the material medium of paint, and as a result, he used four different techniques to emphasize the surface of his canvases. I consider his use of smooth, realistic surfaces combined with elaborate details, as well as his technique of layering designs over his canvases. I also look at his use of a stained-glass-inspired technique, and his looser, more expressionistic sketches.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1681 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Art History in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Arts.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2009.
Date of Defense: March 30, 2009.
Keywords: Moreau, Gustave Moreau, Materiality, Material, Spirit, Matter, Degeneration, Symbolism, Symbolist, Salome, Bestiality
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Lauren Weingarden, Professor Directing Thesis; Richard Emmerson, Committee Member; Adam Jolles, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Art -- History
Architecture -- History
Archaeology -- History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Slavkin, M. C. (2009). Moreau's Materiality: Polymorphic Subjects, Degeneration, and Physicality. Retrieved from