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Wrapped Fragments : Drapery, the Eighteenth Century Portrait Bust and the Male Subject

Robb, Charles (2010) Wrapped Fragments : Drapery, the Eighteenth Century Portrait Bust and the Male Subject. In King Power Designing Masculinities Symposium Conference Proceedings, RMIT, Melbourne, Victoria. (In Press)

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Abstract

The depiction of drapery (generalised cloth as opposed to clothing) is a well-established convention of Neo-Classical sculpture and is often downplayed by art historians as of purely rhetorical value. It can be argued however that sculpted drapery has served a spectrum of expressive ends, the variety and complexity of which are well illustrated by a study of its use in portrait sculpture. For the Neo-Classical portrait bust, drapery had substantial iconographic and political meaning, signifying the new Enlightenment notions of masculine authority. Within the portrait bust, drapery also served highly strategic aesthetic purposes, alleviating the abruptness of the truncated format and the compromising visual consequences of the “cropped” body. With reference to Joseph Nollekens’ portraits of English statesman Charles James Fox and the author’s own sculptural practice, this paper analyses the Neo-Classical use of drapery to propose that rendered fabric, far from mere stylistic flourish, is a highly charged visual signifier with much scope for exploration in contemporary sculptural practice.

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ID Code: 28975
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Sculpture, Drapery, Masculinity, Subjectivity
ISBN: 9781921166945
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > ART THEORY AND CRITICISM (190100) > Art History (190102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500) > Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting) (190502)
Divisions: Past > Disciplines > Art & Design
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 Charles Robb
Deposited On: 02 Dec 2009 09:36
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2010 00:12

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