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Title: Defective perceptions : vision as consumption in Spanish art, c. 1766-1794
Author: Ceron-Pena, Maria Mercedes
ISNI:       0000 0001 3525 6610
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis explores how the image of 'the people' was constructed in Spanish visual culture between 1766 and 1794. The argument begins considering the problem that the representation of the people posed for the Spanish government in the aftermath of the 1766 revolts. The first chapter studies the relation between bureaucratic and medical projects to know and to control the population and parallel attempts to depict the people who gathered in public spaces in Francisco Goya's tapestry cartoons. In the second chapter, the depiction of 'the people' in the views of Cantabrian ports painted by Luis Paret in the 1780s is examined in connection with the imported idea of 'the picturesque' and with the definition of an ideal observer. Chapters three and four focus on the explanations of the act of perception whose knowledge was valued by eighteenth-century Spanish theoreticians as an essential requirement of the ideal spectator. Chapter three also contemplates the ways in which anxieties concerning the increasing visibility of women in the public sphere conditioned the notion of the ideal observer. The role of women as both consumers and spectators prompted a redefinition of perception in which the primacy of sight was asserted. In this chapter, manifestations of occularcentrism are assessed in regard of the theories on perception associated with sensationalism, with which they co existed. Chapter four explores the role that optical instruments and medical treatises on perception had in Spanish visual culture during this period. In the last chapter, the adoption of new techniques by Spanish painters and printmakers is presented as contributing to the redefinition of the 'natural style' characteristic of the Spanish school. Spanish theoreticians' defence of naturalism was not only a matter of identity, but also the means of marketing Spanish commodities. The economic and symbolic role of this form of 'naturalism' helped relocate the visual arts within the enlightened project and within contemporary debates on luxury and consumption.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available