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Self-Fashioning and Autofiction in the Photographic Portraits of the Countess de Castiglione

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Title: Self-Fashioning and Autofiction in the Photographic Portraits of the Countess de Castiglione
Author: Boileau, Karly
Department: School of Fine Art and Music
Program: Art History and Visual Culture
Advisor: Hickson, Sally
Abstract: Over 400 photographic portrait images survive of Virginia Oldoini, the Countess de Castiglione (1837 -1899), taken over the course of her lifetime by the photographer Pierre-Louis Pierson (1822-1913). Individual photographs have been subject to scholarly analysis, primarily focused on a feminist analysis of the psychosexual implications. While not dismissing this reading, in this thesis, I argue that the entire archive of photographs may also be understood as constituting a visual autofiction of the Countess’s life, offering her own reflections on her political and cultural role in Second Empire France. Therefore, the images may be read as a constructed and self-reflexive visual narrative in which the Countess is not merely the subject, but the primary author. This analysis is supported through a reading of the photographs in conjunction with the biography of the Countess de Castiglione, and is supported by portrait theory, photography theory and theories of the history of collecting.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9179
Date: 2015-09
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada