The Reflective Eye of Walter Sickert

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  • Title: The Reflective Eye of Walter Sickert: Mirroring Male Victorian Dominance in the Era of the Emerging New Woman
  • Author(s): Melanie Enderle
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Arts in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Arts Theory and History
  • Keywords: Artifice, Chauvinism, Identity, Public Spaces, Women’s Empowerment
  • Volume: 14
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2326-9952 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-1779 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i03/15-31
  • Citation: Enderle, Melanie. 2019. "The Reflective Eye of Walter Sickert: Mirroring Male Victorian Dominance in the Era of the Emerging New Woman." The International Journal of Arts Theory and History 14 (3): 15-31. doi:10.18848/2326-9952/CGP/v14i03/15-31.
  • Extent: 17 pages

Abstract

Many late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century artists were influenced by earlier Masters’ inclusion of mirrors, but modern painters expanded possibilities of mirrored illusions by exaggerating alternate views, offering sometimes illogical spaces, and enhancing the introspective, psychological acuity of reflected figures. Mirrors became devices to deepen meaning and heighten the conflict between outward appearance and inner emotion, and to give insight into modernity and societal traditions through what was captured in the mirrored images. Walter Sickert, leader of London’s Camden Town Group, featured women’s reflections in domestic interiors and onstage, and his scenes illuminated Victorian male reaction to shifting gender roles and exposed the overall apparent discomfort with, and avoidance of, references to the suffrage movement in his art. This paper adds to the lexicon of the eroding ideology of chauvinism by exploring its unquestioned acceptance and tolerance at the turn of the twentieth century.