Misty Copeland and Degas: Emulation at its Finest

Emulation is a challenging middle ground between imitation and invention.”

– David Mayernik, Professor of Architecture, University of Notre Dame

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(C) 2016 Hearst Communications. Harper’s Bazaar, Misty Copeland and Degas: The Art of Dance. Photographs by Ken Browar and Deborah Ory, featuring Misty Copeland

It’s refreshing to see older works of art reimagined in a modern context, and the latest photo shoot from Harper’s Bazaar is a breath-taking example of a modern reinvention. Featuring the amazing Misty Copeland posing as the young ballerina of Degas’ celebrated paintings, this blend of paint and photography, past and present, puts a modern twist on the graceful, fleeting dancers of a century ago. Photographers Ken Browar and Deborah Ory preserve the earthy pastels and unique poses of Degas’ ballerinas while capturing the strength of Copeland’s movements and the power of her personality, revealing the transformation of the 19th century girl into a confident modern woman who has perfected her art. Continue reading

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4 Reasons Why Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun’s Self-Portrait is a Feminist Manifesto

As I talked about in my post about Rembrandt van Rijn, self-portraits allow artists to create their own public identity, encompassing much more than their physical likeness. In fact, self-portraits don’t have to match their creator’s appearance at all! We each define ourselves by our character, our goals, our accomplishments, or even our failures. We want to be remembered for what we stand for, who we are.

That’s why Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, whom I introduced in my previous post, made several strategic choices in her Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, choices that would surprise and challenge her contemporaries. At a time when the art world was dominated by male masters and scholars like Jacques-Louis David, Lebrun was a female painter with impressive talent, astute social acuity, and a strong sense of personal pride in her work. Even though feminism was not yet a powerful social movement at the time, there are four profound reasons why Lebrun’s Self-Portrait undoubtedly embodies the spirit of future feminist movements:

Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, 1782

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