You sign up on a site, create a profile, and now you are ready to write your first online dating message to someone who caught your eye, but you freeze when you try to type the words. Alright, enough with the sports terms – let’s get you ready to send a well-devised message to someone!
It’s okay if you want to tell a person that they look beautiful, handsome, or cute, but do so in a classy way.
If you aren’t sure how you will come across through text, then it may be better to save those compliments for a phone conversation or a date rather than the first online dating message. The problem with these sentences is that you sound obsessed with physical traits and you only want someone for their hot body. First online dating messages can be awkward, but finding some common ground can ease that tension and open the door for a great conversation to happen.
Take the time to let the person know a little bit more about you than you may have included in your profile.
Now that you’ve sent your first online dating message, it’s time to wait and see if you get a reply.
I tried the online dating things a few years ago in between relationships and I just didn’t like it!
When it comes to heterosexual relationships, particularly those portrayed in films or on television, many people still believe that it is ideal to have the male be older than the female.
The biggest consistency between females who answered was that nearly all of them wanted the male to be the older partner. That’s because in America people are full of themselves and think they know what’s best for everybody! My last girlfriend was 4 years, 8 months younger than me; and my current girlfriend is 12 and half years younger.
Hanging on one wall of the Musee du Louvre, in the company of the gargantuan machines by Jacques-Louis David, Eugene Delacroix, Theodore Gericault, and others, is an exquisitely crafted and modestly sized painting of a black woman. Although we do not know whether or to what extent Benoist partook in the volatile debates on slavery and gender current during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in France, her painting may be seen as a voice of protest, however small, in the discourse over human bondage.
The acknowledgement and delineation of historical circumstances have always been critical for contextualizing treatments of race and gender in art. Benoist's concerns with the status of women and their link to colonial blacks evolved as a result of developments that impacted her life, a life that reads like a suspense novel. It has been suggested that the Portrait d'une negresse was not commissioned but was painted on the artist's own initiative, and was modeled after a black slave brought back to France by Benoist's brother-in-law, a civil servant and ship's purser who had returned from the French island of Guadeloupe in 1800.10 Africans and colonial blacks were frequently brought to Europe to work in upper class and middle class households and often appear in paintings "as part of a complex ritual of display of . A recognized example of the standard representation of blacks in European art is provided by Jean-Marc Nattier's 1733 Mademoiselle de Clermont at Her Bath Attended by Slaves (figs. A contemporary art historian, Griselda Pollock, has noted that in Western art black women typically represent "a space in the text of a masculinist modernist culture in which flourishes an Orientalizing, Africanist fantasy that circulates between artists, their models, and contemporary art historians in the twentieth century."16 Benoist's image is intriguing in that it disrupts our perception of portraiture as a genre and should be read as a powerful demonstration of stylistic virtuosity used not only to construct racial otherness in the historical moment, but to relate that process to the assumed un-raced white and, in this case, female rather than male, self. Benoist's portrait is not only self-reflexive, but is dialogic in that it documents a desire by the artist to command both the aesthetic and the racial in the defining moment of the modern self. Benoist's portrait gives credence to the observation that "those rendered Other are sacrificed to idealization [exoticism], excluded from the being of personhood, from social benefits, and from political (self) representation."19 This process is underscored by the title Benoist gave to the portrait.
Capital Region photographer Genine Gullickson has a unique vision when it comes to capturing the moment.
With the expansion of slavery in the late eighteenth century, and the simultaneous development, based on a new "scientific" classification of human biological traits, of a hierarchy of races, did the word race acquire its meaning.27 In the case of Benoist's image, racial difference is determined by outward signs on the body—namely, skin color, hair texture, and the shape of facial features such as eyes, nose, and lips. From the late eighteenth century until the end of the nineteenth century, "race" in French thought was defined and redefined in relation to those social, political, and ideological processes that were coterminous with French social, cultural, and political development.
Nineteenth-century critical responses to Benoist's painting were varied, but reveal much about the then-prevalent attitudes towards race and gender.
The biological determinist notion of race and racial distinction emerged in French representation as part of the development of France's entry into the institutional and psychological structures of the modern world. In an 1806 issue of the conservative paper Journal des debats, Boutard noted of Benoist that she had confined herself to portraiture, which, according to him and his contemporaries, was the genre most suitable for female artists.37 Painting in the eighteenth century was practiced by women exclusively of the privileged class, and was largely viewed as an amateur pursuit.
Benoist's characteristic subjects—intimate portraits of women and children—are indicative of the role assigned to women artists within the French academic system at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Benoist's first works, exhibited at the annual Exposition de la Jeunesse, from 1784 through 1788, were mostly pastel portraits employing the soft rococo modelling technique favored by her mentor, Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun. For Benoist and many others, David was the godlike figurehead of sober, serious neoclassical values in art.
Portrait d'une negresse constitutes the most publicly recognized example of Benoist's continued foray into the masculinist enterprise of neoclassicism.
Interestingly, whereas gender difference has been uniformly constituted in neoclassicism's masculine valence, racial distinction has not.
Benoist's portrait negotiates between public and private, male and female, familiar and anonymous, erotic and intellectual, via an image that conveys political and social import through its gendered and racial aspects. Although one might argue that there was no single coherent feminist agenda in 1800, nor is it necessarily the case that every painting of a woman by a woman is about women's rights, I want to consider Benoist's portrait as both a work of consensus-building and "feminist" protest.
In its thematic strategies, Benoist's portrait closely relates to early nineteenth-century feminism and the writings of women authors such as Olympe de Gouges, Germaine de Stael, and Claire de Duras.
Prior to Napoleon's elimination of women's rights and curtailment of abolition, one of the crucial events in the development of a feminist movement in France had actually occurred in England with the 1792 publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797).59 This tract was published to popular acclaim throughout Europe.
Wollstonecraft wrote her book to counter Jean-Jacques Rousseau's ideas on the separate educational needs of women and the cultivation of their "natural" female sensibilities.
Although de Gouges and Wollstonecraft were important figures in the early French feminist movement, they were not the dominant voices on the subject of women's rights; that role was held by men.
I submit that one half of the individuals in a society have not the right to deprive that other half of its inalienable right to express its own desires. Feminists of the period—both male and female—used arguments of defense that closely paralleled those used by the Amis des Noirs.
I think it is an easy matter to trace the parallels between the politicizing tactics of race and gender used in literary and abolitonist debates and Benoist's Portrait d'une negresse. Indeed, an important and pervasive strategy employed in most late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century French illustrations about slavery, abolition, and colonial trade was allegory. There is typically a sexualizing or eroticizing aspect to allegory as well, specifically when the bodies of women are used.
Whatever the meaning of the breast, it is the potential for reading an erotic sensuality into the portrait that adds a curious dimension to a work produced by a woman artist with anti-slavery and feminist desires.
It is difficult to know exactly how erotic the exposed breast would have appeared to Parisian audiences in 1800. The precise origins of the exposed breast as a symbol of liberty in France are not known, but are probably rooted in the classical myth of the Amazon—a mythology created by men and centered on war, sex, ethnography, politics, and rites of passage.79 An image of the bare-breasted Amazon in classical works of art connoted a reversal of sex roles, for Amazons were participants in the outdoor world, the body politic. On yet another level, the exposed breast of Benoist's black sitter serves to reinforce the then-popular association of black slave women's hypersexuality with their origins in hot climates.
Complementing the black woman's bared breast is yet another object of visual allure—that of dark flesh. Pollock also notes that the sitter's hand is placed near her genitals, drawing attention to that area and visually alluding to the Venus Pudica typology in which the gesture to cover the breasts and genitalia have the adverse effect of drawing increased attention to them.87 Notwithstanding such exploitation and psychological violation of the body, it has been suggested that the gathering gesture of the left-hand across the figure's lap might well signal resistance on the black woman's part—guarding against further exposure and full possession by the viewer's gaze. In addition to the exposure of breast and flesh as visual indices of meaning, there is another allegorical element in Benoist's painting that needs examination—the headdress and its symbolic references to the Phrygian cap of liberty, the African-style headwrap, and to black women's labor.
The black woman's headwrap and partial nudity are signs that mark her as different from white womanhood.
It was with the eighteenth-century slave trade that the headwrap became a familiar sign of servitude and poverty for black women in the European colonies and in the United States.89 Since cloth was produced domestically, most often by black women, the headwrap was also associated with black women's labor.
The relationship between the headwrap, women's work (specifically, the manufacture and cleaning of cloth), and black servitude are noteworthy aspects of Benoist's portrait.
Corresponding with and complementing the headwrap as a "badge of enslavement" in Benoist's portrait is the visual approximation of the headgear with the Phrygian cap of liberty. Another relevant tidbit about the Phrygian cap revealed by Korshak that is significant to one possible meaning behind Benoist's portrait is that its origins, also traced back to Greek art, reveal that it was used to represent the people of Phrygia and, by extension, came to stand for anyone from exotic regions.
Although Korshak neglects to mention it, the Phrygian cap was typically worn by men, not by women. The painting's allusion to the Phrygian cap and African headwrap, coupled with the multiple meanings of the exposed breast, the focus on contrastive textures of flesh and cloth, and the painting's neoclassical style—all work together to connect the idea of the liberty of the black colonial slave with the hopeful emancipation of women. Benoist's portrait not only addresses the "fact" of French historical participation in slavery and abolition, but it also engages a visuality in which the complications of race, class, and gender get produced, reproduced, and circulated within those historical phenomena. Jacqueline Rose has summarized the importance of analyzing race as a significant aspect of visuality: "the introduction of racial politics into visual space, a racial politics which is also a sexual politics, reconfigures the relation of image to identity, of identity to its undoing [and] reconfigures what we might call . Portrait d'une negresse challenges static notions of the racial in visuality through its multiple networks of looking. With Benoist's portrait, the one-on-one confrontation propels us into a visual and emotional entanglement with the black woman.
Because of its dialogic charge, the gaze forces us to assume that the relationship between Benoist, the black woman, and the contemporary viewer is one in which there is a struggle occurring in terms of power and hierarchy.
Benoist's portrait forces the one observed (the black woman) into a state of "permanent invisibility," while the state of the observer (Benoist and the assumed white viewer), although not technically present in the painting, is pronounced. Hal Foster has acknowledged the menacing aspect of the gaze, referring to it as part of "a politics of sight" where "menace is a social product, determined by power, and not a natural fact."113 The fracturing or destabilizing of the gaze occurs when the looker is in turn looked at—when the viewer becomes spectacle to another's sight. Even though Benoist's painting is aesthetically successful and technically proficient, and although her work constituted an attempt "to locate [herself through] an African woman [as surrogate] in political [and artistic] modernity," the ultimate result was, I believe, a political failure.114 The portrait "reduced" a potentially radical icon of liberty for blacks and women to an aesthetic level of sensualism for male consumption. The ambivalence of agency and identity for both women and blacks has always been a significant part of the equation of modernity.
But stars like Demi Moore, who dated Ashton Kutcher, 12 years her junior, and Madonna, who has a long history of dating much younger men, have gradually normalised so-called 'cougar dating.A And indeed, despite Harry Style's relationship with Caroline Flack causing initial outrage, it seems the unusual situation has paved the way for others to do the same.
A majority (53 per cent) responded that an age difference of seven years was the largest acceptable age gap which they would consider when dating.A one, two and three year age gap scored a 98 per cent approval rating with the public, with a four and five year difference scoring 89 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. After Nick Jonas and Olivia Culpo split, the former Jonas Brother has been linked to dating a variety of girls such as Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and even getting back with Selena Gomez. Despite denying the dating rumors, Jonas and Hudson continue to add fuel to the fire about their alleged romance.
Although Jonas claims to be single, after being linked with Hudson, he never confirmed nor denied that he was seeing her romantically. Not only do you sound like a selfish and conceited person, but you also seem illiterate because you are typing like it’s a text message.
You don’t want this to be the focal point of your message, but if you word it the right way, then it could earn you some brownie points.
Even if you are extremely attracted to the person’s photos, you need to balance your text so that you show interest in more than their looks. Take the time to look through the person’s music interests, what books they like to read, what they went to school for, what they do for work, and any other information they chose to display. In just four sentences, you have provided your name, told the person you like their profile, and made a connection. For example, if you said that one of your favorite activities is hiking, talk about a place you really enjoyed hiking or a place that you would like to go in the future.
Depending on what online dating site you have chosen, you may be able to see if the person read your message or not. Find out why online dating isn’t working for you or if you are using one of the online dating messages you should never send. I was the first to write him – a rare thing for me to do but I’m so glad I did! I’ve heard some crazy stories from my single friends of their experience with online dating messaging! I'm Tori and I'm here to help college students and millennials conquer their goals and chase their dreams.
In fact, only 1 out of 100 women said they think a relationship with a much younger man is the most ideal.
18% believed that such a relationship between an older man and younger woman simply cannot last.
I think that it’s only weird to see two people together when one or both are clearly uncomfortable or disinterested by the other. Use of the web site constitues acceptance of the Defy Media Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. With the portrait, the artist responded to early nineteenth-century French racialism and the less-than-desirable treatment of women by playing upon the popular analogy of women and slaves.
The Portrait d'une negresse was painted in 1800—after the emancipation decree of 1794 in which slaves in the French colonies were (temporarily) liberated and slavery was abolished, but before the reinstatement of colonial slavery by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. She was born into an established family of government administrators and politicians from Brittany.
Prior to 1800, the artist produced mostly portraits and genre scenes in pastels.13 She exhibited sentimental, moralizing portrayals of women, children, and family life which were, generally speaking, expected of women artists by the male-dominated art apparatus during the period and which were very popular with the middle class. 2 and 3).15 There, black women are shown in their expected roles as servants and exoticized complements to the white mistress. In the process, black woman remains a nameless "negress" despite her individualized physiognomy. Although the image depicts a specific individual, the artist has referred to her only as a negresse—the feminine counterpart of the generic racial designation negre (Negro).20 Benoist's prerogative not to name is not simply a result of the black woman's race, for three years prior to the portrait, in 1797, the history painter Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824) produced a striking portrait of a black man called Portrait du Citoyen Belley, ex-representant des colonies (fig. In contradistinction to Girodet's politically active black model, Benoist's black woman has been denied individuality and agency. The most prominent racial sign is that of a dark skin pigmentation set off against a blank background and white fabric. In late-eighteenth-century France, racial thinking as well as racist utterances in print and images, became increasingly normalized and naturalized.
One reviewer, the staunch royalist Jean-Baptiste Boutard, attacked the painting and its creator by admonishing: "Whom can one trust in life after such horror! As David Theo Goldberg has noted, definitions of race and gender along with their attendant representational forms, emerge, develop, and change within the institution of modernity.33 I am defining modernity here in its Foucauldian sense as a discourse of cultural, political, and institutional control and subjugation that is coterminous with the emergence of Eurocentrism and European domination through imperial conquest and rule.
Serious painting, that is to say, history painting, was considered a masculine enterprise reserved for men. The number of women allowed to enter into the French Academy was limited and the attempt to exclude them altogether was led by the institution's director, the Comte d'Angiviller, who believed that "too many women would dilute the proportion of history painters" and thus threaten not only the academy's manliness, but also damage its historical legacy of fostering French national and cultural superiority in art.41 Even as women insisted on equal entry into the academy, they continued, categorically, to be denied access to the life classes necessary to produce history paintings.
Vigee-Lebrun, who saw herself as an important role model for Benoist, was confident that the latter's career would be as bright as her own.43 In 1786, Benoist was one of three female students accepted for art instruction into the studio of Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) while Vigee-Lebrun's studio was being renovated. In Portrait d'une negresse, the black body is put forth as a "foreign element" within an upper class cultural and domestic space.
It is easy to see, from the purity of the drawing, that she is a student of David."51 These and other observers judged Benoist's portrait strictly in relation to David's stylistic influence and neglected to see Benoist's contribution in terms of the work's potentially radical subject matter. As a heroic style indicative of high culture and the founding of democratic nationhood, neoclassicism must necessarily bar racial difference from its semiotic systems of operation. Benoist challenged the restrictions on women artists of her day by linking the "feminine" genre of an intimate portrait with politically charged subject matter (slavery and abolition), the intellectual consideration and visualization of which were emblematically reserved for men.56 Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the slavery and abolition debate remained at the core of determining and designating who was and who was not a member of the French nation. Until 1789, the push for women's rights had been spearheaded by a few female and male agitators.
As was the case with the literary works of these women, Benoist's portrait visualizes, through a black presence, the themes and issues of concern about, namely, class distinction among women, women's status as the "slaves" of men in patriarchal society, and women's abilities to act subversively within that societal structure. It appeared one year after a similar but less well-known tract on the topic of women, Declaration des droits de la femme (Declaration of the Rights of Woman), by Olympe de Gouges.
Several major eighteenth-century philosophes, including Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, Brissot de Warville, Condorcet, and Diderot, had something to say on the subject of women's rights in conjunction with the issue of slavery. One such argument was that women were human beings who shared in the natural rights of man.


Some of the "strategies of self-fashioning" employed by Olympe de Gouges appear to reverberate with Benoist's portrait. Benoist understood the relation between misogyny at home and the exploitation of colonial slaves abroad. Allegory is a part of "semiology which approaches paintings and prints as a system of signs and not perception."71 It is pictorial rhetoric used as a substitute for abstract discourse. Benoist's image is one of the earliest of several works later produced throughout the nineteenth century to symbolically link the exposed breast to the discourses of slavery and emancipation. Certainly the presence of the bared breast would have been scandalous had it not been intended to be read in allegorical or symbolic terms. They reputedly severed their right breasts to "prevent their interference with hunting, fighting, and javelin throwing."80 Retaining her left breast for breast-feeding, an Amazon was able both to preserve her mark of womanhood and to participate in public action associated with men.
This relationship was popularized especially in travelogues and in works of contemporary fiction.81 Although it was customary for black women in the colonies to go barebreasted due to the heat, Benoist's portrait is no slice of colonial life. Art historian Gen Doy has pointed out that the exposed upper body could have been merely Benoist's means of demonstrating her skill at painting flesh—an opportunity that was disallowed to most women artists during the period due to restricted access to the nude.84 Also, we might well keep in mind that Benoist painted the portrait for public display and visual perusal by a primarily all-male public and critical audience.
If this is indeed what is happening, then the black woman's gesture of protection may well be the only agency, albeit subtle, she is accorded. As well, they constitute visible markers of white woman's command over black woman's labor. White women, in particular white artists such as Vigee-Lebrun, often wore headwraps when engaged in the act of painting.
The allusion to the Phrygian cap is underscored by visual comparison of Benoist's painting with images produced just before and immediately after the emancipation decree of 1794 in which blacks wear headwraps that correlate visually with the Phrygian cap as a signifier of the enfranchised slave (figs. In relationship to the cap's suggestive classical and exotic symbolism in Benoist's painting, the fact that the Phrygian cap became a signifier associated with the enfranchisement of male slaves only, supports my argument that Benoist consciously employed masculinist tropes and symbolic gestures in order to empower and communicate meaning germane to women. So, in painting a portrait of a black woman, Benoist had a host of allegories and historical occurrences from which to draw upon that carry the significance and conceptual impact of her image beyond mere display of aesthetic virtuosity alone. However, she also points out that even though the Revolution did deny women these rights, it also "opened up new possibilities for political and economic activity by women which can not be measured simply in terms of legal political rights granted by bourgeois legislation."101 Benoist's portrait is a testament to one possibility for a woman artist to express political concerns during a time when women of all classes were increasingly restricted from participating in direct public action. The dynamics of viewing and the erotics of the gaze are played out among three protagonists: the black sitter, the (unseen) white artist, and the contemporary viewer.
It is men who supposedly possess the power of the gaze and, as such, women are subjected to it and reduced to objects. In this instance, the nature of one of many possible dialogic exchanges occurring between viewer and viewed stresses the play between the optical and the tactile.
When this happens, as it does in Benoist's portrait, the question of where the subject resides surfaces.
While attempting to negotiate the scientific and aesthetic codes associated with the depiction of blacks and women, Benoist ended by catering to the status quo desires of men.
Benoist was forced to abandon her career because her husband received from the restored Bourbon government a high profile appointment. For example, as recently as 1989, the British art historian Hugh Honour saw Benoist's portrait as "the most beautiful portrait of a black woman ever painted." Today, this cautious and politically correct statement sounds overly simplified. On the restrictive nature of the Code Napoleon to women, see Robert Nye, Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993).
Marie-Juliette Ballot, Une eleve de David la Comtesse Benoist L'Emilie de Demoustier, 1768-1826 (Paris: Librairie Plon, 1914), p. Prior to the temporary abolition of slavery in 1794, the laws governing the legal status of colonial slaves brought onto French soil was ambiguous.
For an expanded discussion of this painting in the context of the interests and social status of nineteenth-century women artists, see Doy, Women and Visual Culture,1998, pp. I borrow this idea from Tamar Garb who used it in the context of the much later images of masculinity produced by Gustave Caillebotte. During the nineteenth century, the definitions of these terms, along with the designations "esclave (slave)" and "noir (Black)," tended to shift according to historical and political circumstances.
For an extended discussion of this painting, see Sylvia Musto, "Portraiture, Revolutionary Identity and Subjugation: Anne-Louis Girodet's Citizen Belley," RACAR 20, nos.
Both images are used as cover illustrations for Hugh Honour's two-volume The Image of the Black in Western Art. For Belley's biography and politically active significance in postrevolutionary France, see Weston, "Representing the Right to Represent", 1994.
Art historian Griselda Pollock has chimed in on this very point in accusing modern feminist scholars of putting black women through the ordeal of display as a result of their (the feminists') desire, indeed need, to "excavate a history of women artists" as a means to secure "the cause of European women's creativity." See Pollock, 1999, p. Jean-Baptiste Boutard, Arlequin au Museum,ou Critique des tableaux, en vaudevilles, (Paris, 1801), quoted in Ballot, 1914, p. Gen Doy has pointed out that the use of the term noirceur (black horror) to describe the sitter has multiple meanings including aversion to blackness, melancholy, viciousness, and horror. In this regard, Doy gives significant meaning to Benoist's choice of palette in suggesting that the dominant colors used intentionally recall the tricolor.
This assertion is in response to Hugh Honour's unapologetic assessment that "there is not the least suggestion of servitude in the painting. Admission to David's studio was highly competitive, and David may have accepted Benoist as a gesture of defiance, since the king had declared, in 1785, that women artists were not to be trained in the Louvre. Nonetheless, David was told by the Comte d'Angiviller, in 1787, that he had to send away his female students.
As well, the palette of each work is supposedly loaded with color symbolism—the David, in reference to the republican cockade and the sitter's impending execution; the Benoist, in reference to the French tricolor. Bruun Neergaard, Sur la situation des beaux-arts en France, ou lettres d'un danois a son ami (Paris, 1801); Quoted in Ballot, 1914, p. See Gen Doy, "Women and the Bourgeois Revolution of 1789: Artists, Mothers and Makers of (Art) History," in Perry and Rossington, 1994, p. For an engaging discussion of how women artists, writers, and activists in the revolutionary period constructed the female body and related it to experiences in the male-reserved public realm, see Dorinda Outram, The Body and the French Revolution (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989). See Jean-Antoine-Nicholas Caritat, Marquis de Condorcet, "Sur l'admission des femmes au droit de cite," Journal de la Societe de 1789, 5 (3 July 1790), pp.
One in five men asked what age gap they would consider when lookign for a girlfriend now say they would date a woman 15 years older.
The two of them were recently spotted on a romantic dinner date in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Pictures showed the two of them outside an Italian restaurant, Pace, and they were seated at a corner table on the outdoor patio for four hours. The outing comes after the rumored couple was spotted cozying up to one another at the DirecTV Super Saturday Night party in San Francisco, a day before Super Bowl 50. One of my best effort to respect her and her privacy, I’m not going to say if we had sex or not.
Do yourself a favor before writing anything – read the person’s profile and take the time to spell out words, even if you are using your phone. Something as simple as “You look beautiful in your pictures” or “You look very handsome in that suit” is non-threatening and shows the person that you do have some physical attraction to them. For example, let’s say you find someone you’re interested in messaging but you aren’t sure what to write to them.
Doing this makes you seem more personable and may spark the interest of the person you’re writing. The key is to balance the message with just enough information so that they want to write back. The first one was just a copy and paste of his profile bio so I thought he was just sending out mass messages.
She sports an intricately wrapped and crisply laundered headdress that appears similar in fabric to the garment she gathers closely against her body just below her breasts. The portrait is interesting not just in its aesthetic presentation and historical context, but in its potential for new critical readings. Of all the works she exhibited between 1799 and 1804, most of which are lost to us now, Portrait d'une negresse was most highly praised by the Salon critics.14 The painting is unusual in that it deviates from standard representations of blacks in European art which typically show them as colorful additions to a portrait or a scene in which a white master or mistress is the intended primary focus. What is interesting about Portrait d'une negresse is that unlike the standard eighteenth-century painting in which a black appears, it does not show a white woman attended by a black one. She mystifies rather than clarifies the expected function of the portrait genre as a marker of a sitter's identity, social class standing, and occupation. However, for all its aesthetic allure and charm, the portrait robs the black sitter of her identity, her voice, and her agency in order to make a statement about the social position and power (albeit limited in the sense of male-dominated politics of the day) of bourgeois and upper class white women at the beginning of the nineteenth century in France. See her outstanding portfolio and make sure to book your session with Genine Gullickson next time you are in New York. In this context, Benoist's portrait was no different from works by other artists who assumed a relationship between physical difference and cultural and national difference.
It is a white and pretty hand which has created this blackness (noirceur)."29 Along these same disparaging lines, another critic, Charles Thevenin, referred to the subject of Benoist's portrait as "a sublime blurred tache (stain),"30 referencing the black woman as an unclean object, a blot devoid of noteworthy human presence. In fact, the concept of race is one of the central inventions of the modern world, a point that makes it all the more remarkable that most past and contemporary histories of early nineteenth-century French art avoid altogether the issue of race.
With few exceptions, they were generally denied government patronage and were forbidden from competing for the coveted Prix de Rome. Benoist's admittance was made possible by both Vigee-Lebrun's recommendation and by her family's close political and administrative ties with the government. In that same year, David urged Benoist to also exhibit in the Exposition de la Jeunesse her history painting titled Clarissa Harlowe at the Archers. The image is built upon notions of the female body as vulnerable, nurturing, part of the cult of domesticity and interiority.
By viewing Benoist's portrait only in terms of Davidian neoclassicism and the gendering of style, I believe these critics affirmed and praised the masculinist aspect of the painting while silencing or disavowing the work's potentially subversive feminist appeal.
In this respect, Benoist's portrait is unique in its exploitation of racial difference expressed within the visual language of neoclassicism. During the Revolution, a minority of women, especially in Paris, became politically visible and vocal.
Both works championed women's political rights and education, and linked women's struggles directly to colonial slavery.60 As well, both de Gouges and Wollstonecraft did not hesitate to use the term slave (esclave) when discussing the social position of women in society.
Rhetorical engagement—be it verbal or visual— in debates around slavery and abolition, particularly after the successful slave uprisings on Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in 1791 and before the reinstitution of slavery in the French colonies in 1802, would have been deemed part of revolutionary political discourse and, therefore, reserved primarily for men to engage. Another was that women, like blacks, once freed could fight for France and contribute socially and economically in the name of patriots.
I conclude this to be the case even though there is no hard evidence to support the claim that Benoist either personally knew Olympe de Gouges or read any of her writings.
Benoist's portrait belongs to this discourse of semiology in that it functions as allegorical symbol and emblem intersecting with such lofty ideas as "Liberty," "Revolution," "Republic," and "France"—ideas that contain and carry their own respective symbols and complex relations.
Basically, Benoist's black servant has been brought before the viewer with two seemingly contradictory objectives: to present a sensual and possibly erotic object of possession and to call for sympathetic action to improve women's lot in life. For example, the sexual and allegorical function of the exposed breast of black women was also manifested in Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's sculptural bust Afrique, or Why Be Born a Slave? Indeed, Benoist had access to several allegorical models of the exposed breast, the most noteworthy being Portrait of Mme.
The black woman has been taken out of her native context, removed from familial ties and familiar surroundings. The exposure of so much dark flesh in a manner potentially received as erotic, may have shocked or even horrified some viewers (such as Boutard and Thevenin).
By focusing on the black woman's corporality and by juxtaposing dark skin with white cloth, Benoist has directed attention to black woman's otherness in the realm of the visual, the physical, and the social. It has been suggested that an Arabic influence is possible and that the headwrap derived from the male turban. I propose that Benoist made conscientious and pointed use of meaningful allegories and symbolizations in a period when gains from the Revolution that were thought to benefit women and blacks, no matter how seemingly minor, were being eroded. Portrait d'une negresse was perhaps Benoist's personal protest against the increasingly anti-woman and pro-slavery atmosphere in 1800.
The tensions produced by these players in multiple gazes are highlighted in the crisscrossing dynamics of seeing, being seen, and not being seen. Women become, like slaves, commodities or "capitalist objects of [possession and] symbolic exchange . Both define what is seen as an object and both are underscored by the sensual rendering of smooth flesh set in visual and tactile contrast with fabric. She is forever othered, forever locked into a "crushing objecthood."111 At the same time, the black woman's look of quiet resignation could be taken as thoughtful, woefully introspective, passive, troubled, even dignified—an uncertain interpretation that further confounds any definitive reading of the painting and secures the possibility of competing senses or strategies within the work. Indeed, the historical realities of slavery and colonialism in the year 1800 would have rendered the gaze upon the black woman as clearly subjugating rather than as a gaze of mutual equality. Her attempt to create a historical and moral style on combined feminine and masculine terms succumbed to the masculinist mode and formal strategies she employed. It is this struggle that helps chart and define modernity and its ambivalences of agency.115 The lack of agency and the inability of black woman to control the imaging of her own body in the nineteenth century, constitutes a major problem of which we are reminded in Benoist's portrait. Her mother was concerned about her daughter's professional and personal persona and put pressure on her to quit painting.
When represented in art, blacks were typically and immediately classed into the de-personalized category of "exotic" or "oriental." They were never recognized as full-fledged participants in the forging of a French modern identity. However, once on continental French soil, a slave's status changed to that of servant and he or she could legally petition for liberty. Oppenheimer, "Three Newly Identified Paintings by Marie-Guillelmine Benoist," Metropolitan Museum Journal 31 (1996), p. On the history of the French etymology of these racial designations, see Serge Daget, "Les mots esclave, negre, noir, et les jugements de valeur sur la traite negriere dans la litterature abolitioniste francaise de 1770 a 1845," Revue francaise d'histoire d'outre-mer 60 (1973), pp.
This is an observation that adds to the notion of Benoist's attempt to integrate (at least rhetorically) black people into the corps politique of the French nation.
The survey of 500 men, conducted by Roxy Palace revealed that 19 per cent said that they would not be bothered an age-gap of 15 years. You may have tons of other questions running through your mind, but don’t let those doubts and worries stop you from reaching out to someone you are initially attracted to.
You can easily alter this example to fit similar musical interests, sports, or anything else you found to be of interest. If you don’t write enough, you risk sounding like you didn’t read through their profile and have no communication skills, whereas writing too much may seem too overwhelming. In the following pages, I want to consider Benoist's portrait as a work far more nuanced and layered in signification around race, gender, and class issues than previous assessments of the work have led us to believe.3 I would like to present a reading of the painting based upon a consideration of its racialized and gendered subject matter and style, as well as the gender and social class status of the artist, the historical circumstance surrounding the work's creation, and the multi-directional dynamics of "race" and visuality communicated through the portrait.
In 1782, he was named director of Louis XVI's saltworks and was subsequently assigned to another government post. Most scholars agree that Benoist's portrait was not a study for a larger project as is the case with most eighteenth-century works in which a sole black appears. However, Benoist's painting does act out that scenario, as the black woman here serves the invisible white artist as a model.
Indeed, Portrait d'une negresse is less a portrait of a black woman and more a portrait of Benoist herself. Unlike Benoist, Girodet depicts a named individual whose biography and physical presence relate directly to the postrevolutionary moment in which it was painted.23 Belley's dignified yet defiant demeanor speaks directly to the historical circumstances of slavery, abolition, and the tumultuous relationship between the races in the French colonies.
In other words, I see in this portrait the "classic" ambiguity, struggle, and neurotic exchange of power played out between colonizer and colonized—a state of affairs that has become an all-too-expected feature of racial and cultural relations in the modern Western world. Although Benoist's specific views on black people are unknown, there is little doubt that she believed in a hierarchy of classes and the races, as did everyone of the period regardless of their political persuasion. Both Boutard and Thevenin attacked Benoist based on their belief that the artist had violated contemporary notions of aesthetic propriety. Perhaps this is so as not to spoil the central place of French art in traditional accounts of Western modernism and not to destabilize the central position of French revolutionary ideology in modern political discourse.


That is, she was able to receive as much instruction as she did because of the social status of the male members of her family, and as little as she did because of her gender. However, this space of "feminization" and interiority, created for the most part by the juxtaposition of skin and cloth, is presented to us in the "masculinized" visual language of neoclassicism.
The portrait is also unusual in the sense that, among other things, a black female subject rendered in the neoclassical style is used to voice the more "authentic" masculine traits of morality and virtue. A new kind of feminism developed after 1789 which was characterized by less rhetoric and more action, especially among its working class supporters.57 Previously voiced vague statements advocating equality evolved into specific demands by women for educational, economic, and legal and political rights.
With the help of men such as Condorcet, who publicly acknowledged himself as an ami des femmes as well as an ami des noirs, women protested actively for their political and social rights. Notwithstanding, it has been confirmed that in 1789-90, Olympe de Gouges publicly associated herself with the Marquis de Condorcet and the Societe des Amis des Noirs.67 For Olympe de Gouges, "black slaves had become less her cause than her muse, compelling her to write .
Taking into account the artist's indoctrination into the idea of painting as a socializing act for women in her position, Benoist foregrounded a discursive posture in relation to gender and slavery that was simultaneously less and more eroticized in order to appeal to a heterosexual male audience through which her standing as a professional painter was determined.
In France, allegorical prints with abolitionist messages were typically incorporated into books as illustrations for colonialist, political, or scientific tracts.
One complicating element in linking the allegorical to the erotic is the sitter's bared breast. She has been deracinated, dislocated, de- and re-historicized; consciously displayed by a French artist in a Paris studio. Art historian Griselda Pollock has outlined the history and semiotic significance of the headwrap in context of the formulaic appearance of black women in European visualizations of Orientalist and Africanist fantasy. 8), Vigee-Lebrun often represented herself sporting a headwrap while painting, actively engaging the viewer who becomes a stand-in for the subject being rendered.
The abstract idea of liberte was firmly linked with the Phrygian cap by 1789 and associated with racial thinking by way of historical occurrences that included the French Revolution, the 1791 slave revolt on Saint-Domingue, and the abolition of slavery in 1794. It was her best means of repudiating the anti-feminist and racist policies of her day while working within the culturally sanctioned, male-dominated domain of art production. Benoist's painting is about viewer location and it raises the question of exactly who is looking at whom and how the viewer identifies with the subject viewed. However, Benoist's assumed sympathy toward the black woman and her own oppressed status as a woman vis-a-vis patriarchal culture dislodge any fixed positionality of the gaze.
The significance of the (re)presentation and reinvention of a black woman by a white woman artist at the very beginning of the nineteenth century in France is intimately and ultimately connected with the workings of patriarchal power in society. For a recent study of these artists in the context of revolutionary ideology and bourgeois French culture, see Gen Doy, Women and Visual Culture in 19th-Century France, 1800-1852 (London and New York: Leicester University Press, 1998). Art historian Gen Doy points out that Benoist was a victim of a bourgeois ideology that maintained that women should not have a public presence in French cultural life. On the visual and theoretical dynamics of racial obfuscation and periodic inclusion in works of high modernism and popular culture in the late nineteenth-century, see James Smalls, "'Race' As Spectacle in Late-Nineteenth-Century French Art and Popular Culture," French Historical Studies 26, no. Because he was a member of the royal cabinet, Benoist's father was, on one occasion, brought before a police board of inquiry to ascertain how much his daughter was involved in royalist plots to save the royal family from execution. For a history of the social status and legal complexities of slaves brought into France proper during the late eighteenth century, see Shelby T.
Most of the literature in this area focuses on working class women organized into political clubs. Hardt, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (New York: The Whitston Publishing Company, 1982). Brown notes that Olympe de Gouges often changed the titles of her works in order to appeal to the contemporary moment. However, the vast majority drew the line at a two-decade gap with only four per cent saying that the 20 year age difference would not faze them. Everyone has their different methods so feel free to tweak and type as you choose, but keep the previous tips for completing your first online dating message in mind! Although there are no background details that indicate precisely where the sitter is placed, certain details of her physical surroundings—namely, the ancien regime chair and luxurious cloth that drapes both it and her—suggest that she is in a well-to-do domestic space. To this end, my approach will deviate at times from standard modes of art-historical inquiry and venture into a critical evaluation of the painting as a constructed image of "race" and gender. He took on several important positions including, in 1792, appointment as a minister in Louis XVI's cabinet. French law dictated that once transported onto continental French soil, a slave's status had to be legally changed to that of servant or attendant and registered with the French authorities.12 In all likelihood, therefore, Benoist's sitter was a slave-turned-servant who had no say in the way her body was presented. While traditional paintings of black and white women show the white woman posed as model on a chair and attended by blacks, such as in Nattier's work, Benoist's image reverses the situation—black woman is seated and posed as white woman is busy attending (painting). And in this respect, it is a typical colonialist picture in that the artist who created it made use of the racialized Other to define and empower the colonizing Self. Although the exact relationship between Girodet and Belley remains a mystery, it is probable that Girodet's purpose was to visually construct a personage who embodies the democratic ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity brought forth by the French Revolution and should be extended, in principle, to blacks. Their judgments were informed by commonly held racist beliefs of their time that blacks were ugly, less than human, and unworthy as the primary subject of any noble art form.31 As was the case with most artists and critics of the period, Boutard and Thevenin viewed blacks as biologically different and set apart culturally and intellectually from Frenchness and whiteness. Whatever the reasons, race has always been an ambiguous concept in the annals of modern French history and thought. Due to family and social pressures, however, by 1795 Benoist had ceased painting classical subjects and devoted herself to the "feminine pursuits" of portraiture and sentimental genre scenes.
The gendered nature of the painting's style has been underscored by the comments of several past and contemporary observers.
But by 1800, pro-slavery and reactionary political forces recovered ground lost in the Revolution. Condorcet was encouraged by his friend Brissot, founder of the French abolitionist group, the Amis des Noirs, to agitate for the democratic rights of women. Her portrait provokes an ethnographic and erotically objectifying subtext—the dynamics of which operate under a veil of allegory, classicizing, and aestheticizing. These were seen by educated elites and were not distributed to a broad audience.72 Thus, a major drawback to the use of allegory in gauging the practical relevance of a black presence in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in France was that its accessibility was restricted to intellectual circles who, in turn, tended to limit outrage against slavery to cerebral debates about the rights of French (male) citizens alone.
Benoist has emphasized the black woman's breast by strategic placement of the sitter's left hand across her abdomen.
Isolated from her original geographical and genealogical contexts, the black woman has come to represent whatever is projected onto her by the artist, her contemporaries, and by present-day viewers. In the Caribbean and in the American South, the headwrap took on a function as "a uniform of communal identity " that encoded resistance to one's enslaved condition.93 So, as both a "badge of enslavement" and a "helmet of courage," the headwrap was paradoxical. These relationships of history and their interchangeable visual semiotics of headwrap and Phrygian cap provide compelling evidence that for Portrait d'une negresse, Benoist may have been consciously drawing upon various historical and symbolic sources related to the emancipation of women and blacks. It is a work that engages both history and contemporary viewership in that it speaks to the social, political, and psychosexual nuances of "race," gender, and colonial desire in the act of looking. Robert Young has convincingly argued that the majority of colonial representations are pervaded by images "of transgressive sexuality .
Each is the result of changing locales of subjective and intersubjective formation since multiple identifications and positionings can be associated with the gaze. High culture tends to exclude the knowledge of women artists produced within feminism, and also works in a phallocentric system of signification in which woman, whether white or black, is reduced to a sign within the discourse on masculinity.
Benoist herself was questioned and released, for the police were really more interested in the affairs of her husband. In the French colonial and national context, the notion that race was a biological fact was fueled by society's belief in the ability of science to contribute to social and material progress and, therefore, to national greatness. Benoist lived at the Louvre through 1797 and was later awarded an apartment and studio in the Maison d'Angivillers.
He was editor of the conservative newspapers La Quotidenne and the Mercure de France from 1797 to 1799. There has been scant inquiry into the reactions and deeds of the aristocratic elite and non-activist women.
Napoleon's personal views on women were blunt: "Women attend to nothing but pleasure and their toilette . For example, when feminism and the abolitionist cause of the Amis des Noirs were linked, she changed the title of her story Zamora and Mirza to Esclavage des negres. Just under a third said they would be happy with a ten year age gap, a percentage which steadily increases as the age-gap decreases year by year. Before doing so, however, certain biographical and historical bits of information must be revealed that inform my unconventional interpretation of the painting.
Toward the end of his life, he was named French consul in Rotterdam, where he died in 1798.
The artist, always eager to publicize her painting skills, enthusiastically began the task of putting on canvas the "belle couleur noire brillante" that she found by contrasting dark flesh and white cloth. By depicting a black woman as exotic, servant or slave in the traditional pose and situation of white women, Benoist has turned the Portrait d'une negresse into something of an allegory of her own condition of subservience to patriarchy. That is, the portrait constitutes a visual record of white woman's construction and affirmation of self through the racial and cultural Other.
Portrait du Citoyen Belley is, according to historian Helen Weston, a combined allegorical and straightforward portrait containing elements of idealization and historical "truth."24 Likewise, Benoist's portrait taps into didactic strains of allegory while addressing historical truths regarding slavery and the less-than-desirable condition of women. They saw only the "celebrated beauty of the white hand of the artist in comparison with the diabolic hand of the model."32 For such critics, as well as for some lay observers, the negative shock of blackness—the tache as visible sign and symbol of ugliness and horror—was set in contrastive association with the virtuous attributes of white female purity and beauty. The concept came about as the result of French involvement in the institution of slavery, abolition, and in the advent of scientific enterprise used to rationalize the enslavement of black Africans. Notwithstanding Vigee-Lebrun's strong mentoring, Benoist's single year in David's studio was the most influential on her work. Male critics of the period asserted condescendingly that Benoist's brand of neoclassicism was laced with the "feminine" traits of delicacy and sensuality assigned to the rococo and to its practitioners. It is quite possible that Benoist's portrait may have been a reaction against the Jacobin outlawing of the women's clubs and its revocation of the right of speech for women in public meetings.
In his 1790 essay "Sur l'admission des femmes au droit de cite (On the Admission of Women to Civil Rights), Condorcet spoke out against prejudice and injustice against women and, in the same breath, compared female emancipation to that of black Africans.63 Although ultimately unsuccessful in ameliorating the situation for women and black slaves, both Condorcet and Brissot emphasized the link between the two causes.
Between 1794 and 1802, black men and black women became visual signifiers for philosophical rumination over the abstract ideals of liberte, egalite, fraternite, rather than as primary catalysts to direct public action. 6).75 As with Benoist's portrait, these later works were produced during an era of intense French colonial expansion and the use of science (ethnography and anthropology) to rationalize the pacification and sexualization of the racial Other. The black figure is denied personhood and becomes only a sign of what Gayatri Spivak has referred to as the "vagueness of the negress' geography"—a constructed entity likened to "la superbe Afrique."82 Her presentation "functions as interpellation . In the case of Benoist's portrait, the headwrap may operate as an instrument of identity and rebellion, even though its very presence here also serves as a signifier of difference imposed upon the sitter by a privileged white woman whose own sense of identity depended on black woman's labor, physical submission, and forced anonymity. I want to briefly enter into this web of visual exchange to tease out what I see as complex and multiple positionalities that force an analysis of the portrait from critical perspectives that do not necessarily adhere to a reliance upon empirical readings of history alone.
Despite the fact that women would have also seen this work at the annual exhibition, it was subject to critical readings (such as those by Boutard) largely determined by a predominantly male community. This is to say that viewing subjects (Benoist and the contemporary viewer), their objects of vision (the black woman), and the dynamics of visual exchange that operate among them, are complexly produced. However, the same portrait also exposes the cold reality of the oppression of blacks and women at the dawn of the nineteenth century in that both sitter and painter represent victims caught in a system fostering subordination and erasure of that system's oppressed members even in the face of their attempts to assert themselves. For more than a year Benoist was constantly followed and put under surveillance by the police, see Ballot, 1914, p. Few, if any, European images of non-Europeans are as calmly and clear-sightedly objective." See Honour, Image of the Black, 1989, p.
In addition, he held the posts of consul of France in Martinique and in the Ile Saint-Thomas.
Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1988). The French text reads: "Le merite des femmes et leur vaillante participation aux Arts est un des titres distinctifs de ce temps," and "la citoyenne Benoist et Mme. His brother, Joseph Leroulx-Delaville, was a member of the Assembly of Notables, Deputy of the Orient to the Estates General, and a member of the Constituent Assembly. Clearly, Benoist's portrait not only provoked the question of what subjects were worthy of representation but, more specifically, what subjects were appropriate for white women artists of high social standing to engage.
It is difficult to measure, however, the degree to which French perceptions and rationalizations of racial difference within the scientific community impacted points of view about racial difference in the artistic community. From 1791, her paintings incorporated stylistic traits associated with neoclassicism such as simplified backgrounds, a minimal use of props and clothing, a sculptural approach to modeling the figure, direct lighting, stronger coloration and tonal contrasts. Even the choice of words used by one contemporary female observer to characterize the portrait speaks to the continued "problem" of gender in the work's production.
Undoubtedly, Benoist must have sympathized with the frustration, anger, and fear of many female political activists whose activities were curtailed with the Reign of Terror and who witnessed the execution of several women of disparate political tendencies—from Marie Antoinette to Olympe de Gouges. Other writers, too, specifically related the condition and rights of women to those of slaves.
Like de Gouges, Benoist might have viewed abolitionism and feminism "not as a coherent ideology so much as an available social identity"70 with which one could fashion oneself publicly as a credible professional artist. There is, however, a benefit to allegory in relation to the black presence in general and to Benoist's portrait in particular, for as symbolic or metaphorical narrative, allegory sometimes can and often does operate to contest and disrupt the narrative assumptions of colonialism. Discourses about the gaze typically concern issues of pleasure and knowledge, power, manipulation, and desire.105 The discursive and dialogic complexity of the image and import of the gaze indicate that one cannot simply read the work as evidence of white-over-black and male-over-female structures of oppression.
However, recent scholarship in areas outside art history, in particular cinema and performance studies, has suggested that there are alternate gazes irrespective of gender that reorder the importance of the visual and produce more fluid forms of subjectivity.107 Benoist's portrait allows for such alternate gazings.
I think Benoist had this reality of the contemporary moment well in mind when she started the portrait. He was also secretary to general Leclerc in Saint Domingue, and so his views of blacks were biased. Benoist's husband, Pierre-Vincent Benoist (1758-1834), a lawyer and avowed monarchist from Angers, also came from an illustrious background.
Nevertheless, Benoist's portrait demonstrates to what extent gender, race, and class, were significant to the articulation of the artist's subjectivity in the historical moment of French entry into the modern world.
There is no doubt that for Portrait d'une negresse, Benoist was greatly influenced by David in terms of both style and composition.
The work, she notes, combines "the graceful fluidity and coloristic harmonies learned from Vigee-Lebrun with the three dimensional modelling and firm contour taught . However, even though Benoist's painting may have challenged stereotypical expectations of women's social and artistic talents, the artist also met certain male expectations regarding roles assigned to women.
There are additional complicating networks of looking and power relationships at work here.
Viewing the gaze as only phallocentric is problematic in this instance, for as a woman who happened to be a professional painter, Benoist has deployed meaning regarding her own tenuous and ambiguous position vis-a-vis patriarchal power in 1800. Maite Albistur and Daniel Armogathe, Histoire du feminisme francais (Paris: Editions des Femmes, 1977), pp.
With Portrait d'une negresse, we are forced to question race, gender, and class as defining aspects of the collective body politic in the building of French nationhood in which women and blacks were to be included in the abstract ideals of liberte, egalite, and fraternite.34 The portrait underscores the perception that race is a paradoxical component of French entry into the modern world in that "as modernity commits itself progressively to idealized principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity, as it increasingly insists upon the moral irrelevance of race, there is a multiplication of racial identities and the sets of exclusions they prompt and rationalize, enable and sustain. I contend that it was the correlation and conflict between masculine and feminine, between emotionalism and heroic action in neoclassical painting that perhaps attracted Benoist to employ the ennobling and classicizing language of the style to a black woman.
To make a statement about women's role in society that could elicit a supportive response from a male spectator, Benoist employed neoclassicism, a "masculine" style, and exploited black women, a popular subject matter, with potential appeal to exotic and erotic male fantasies. This is not to say that Benoist or the sitter was homosexual, but it does force one to consider the ways in which same-sex wants, needs, and desires can be generated and circulated in the interracial colonial gaze. I am accustomed to good women, sweet and conciliatory, these are the kinds of women I like," quoted in Damas Hinard, Dictionnaire Napoleon ou Recueil alphabetique des opinions et jugements de l'Empereur Napoleon Ier, (Paris: Plon Freres, 1854), from a letter to Josephine dated 6 November 1806, p.
On Angelique Mongez and other women artists influenced by David during the nineteenth century, see Doy, Women and Visual Culture, 1998.



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