Monday, March 29, 2010

Properzia Rossi - Killed into Art

Last semester in one of my classes we read a feminist critique of Snow White about women who had been "killed into art" - basically meaning that the aesthetic ideal of the woman had made them into nothing but objects, and their existence as three-dimensional, complicated people was basically negated by the patriarchal ideal.

I think that works really well here with Properzia Rossi - first of all, the whole reason she cares so much about the statue she's making is not for any personal pleasure, but because the one person she loves doesn't love her because she's not beautiful enough for him. As a result, she has to make a statue that he might appreciate for its beauty. That way, he'll love some part of her - the beauty of the statue which her talent has created. But more than a representation of her talent, I feel like the statue is the concrete image she always wanted to be...and that's what I feel is kind of wrong with her mentality here. That she doesn't do it for herself, that the only reason she wants to have fame is so that he might recognize her, however insubstantially, and think fondly of her in the future.

Then again - why does anyone try to achieve fame? And the problem with feminist critiques in my mind is why does anyone do anything? Being in love with someone seems to me to be a pretty legitimate reason to make a statue, at least as legitimate as trying to get fame forever. I guess we're really supposed to do things because we love them - but who knows why we love to do the things we do at all - it could just be some evolutionary/biological reason. This is going off on a tangent which is in no way related to bodies/souls. Sorry.

1 comment:

  1. The idea of any sort of artist being "killed into art" is an interesting one to me, not merely from a feminist perspective. It suggests something about the relationship between the artist and his/her creation that is both opposite to and connected to "living for the art." The latter seems like such an admirable quality -- sure it's an obsession, but hey, they're an artist, what else would they do. The former, though, suggests a sort of sinister, malignant relationship between creator and created, making it indistinguishable as to which occurred first, or which really created which. How does this relationship relate to other works of art that we've seen in the poems? And by extension to the authors of those poems themselves?