Cult of True Womanhood
Sojourner Truth
"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again.  And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them. ” - Sojourner Truth from her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech

"In 1850 [when] former slave Sojourner Truth drew crowds to a series of lectures in Indiana, the force of her rhetoric and personality led an incredulous audience there to demand she prove that she was not a man - culminating in her famously revealing her breast to the audience as indisputable proof of her sex." (Buszek, Pin-Up Grrrls, 38)

Reminder! Compendium 3 due on Thursday
Sojourner Truth. Carte-de-visite. 1864.











Abraham Lincoln

Along with the tides of political change came a new style to express the philosophies of the new regime
neoclassicism = a style of art, literature and architecture popular from the late 1700s to the early 19th century that revived classical aesthetics and forms and is characterized by strong geometric compositions, severe line, order and simplicity in style.

Oath of the Horatii

Vinnie  Ream Hoxie. Abraham Lincoln. 1870.
Nancy G. Heller.  Women Artists: An Illustrated History.  Fourth edition.  New York:  Abbeville Press, 2003.
Jacques-Louis David. Oath of the Horatii. 1784 - 85.
Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History. Revised Second ed. Vol. 2. New York: Prentice Hall Inc., and Harry N. Abrams, 2005.











Young Woman

Marie-Denise Villers. Young Woman Drawing. 1801.











The Good Mother in the
Rococo style
and the Neoclassic
Jean-Honoré Fragonard. The Good Mother. c. 1770.
Elisabeth-Louise Vigee-Lebrun. Portrait of the Artist with Her Daughter. 1789.











Peace Bringing Back Abundance

Portrait of a Negresse

Elizabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun. Peace Bringing Back Abundance. 1780.
Marie-Guillemine Benoist. Portrait of a Negrese. 1800.
Slavery was outlawed in France in 1794 and
Benoist's piece became a symbol for equality











"As a widow [Cornelia] turned down lucrative marriage offers to be faithful to the memory of her husband, by whom she had borne twelve children - all for the glory of Rome.  Her fecundity was much praised, as was her devotion to her children's education.  Under her tutelage, two of her sons, the Gracchi - Tiberius and Gaius - led a reform movement of the plebians against the patricians.  Both sons died in the ensuing unrest, but Cornelia was stoical.  She owes her fame to her reply when asked why she did not wear her jewels.  "These," she said pointing to her children, 'are my jewels.'" - Myths of Motherhood

Cornelia Pointing to Her Children

Angelica Kauffmann. Cornelia Pointing to
Her Children as Her Treasures
. c. 1785.










Historical Context
1837 - 1901 Victorian Age - Queen Victoria rules England

1839 Photography invented
1846 Sewing machine invented
1848 Pre-Raphaelites
Discovery of gold in American west encourages westward expansion
1851 Harriet Beacher Stowe publishes antislavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin
1853 - 1855 Crimean War; England and France halt the advancement of Russia into Balkans
1861 - 1865 American Civil War
1863 First Impressionist Exhibition
1865 Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in U.S.
Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
1869 Susan B. Anthony orgranizes Woman's Suffrage Movement in United States
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patents telephone
1888 Jack the Ripper murders and mutilates London prostitutes
Alexander Melville.  Queen Victoria.  1845.











The Cult of True Womanhood

Domestic Happiness

The True Woman was:
Pious, pure, submissive and domestic
Morally and spiritually superior to men
Because of this, her body should not be used for debase things like sexual pleasure (men used prostitutes - "public" women - for such things)
Exposure to the nude form could disturb her delicate equilibrium
The home was the "separate and proper sphere for women"
Lilly Martin Spencer. Domestic Happiness. 1849.










We Both Must Fade

Lilly Martin Spencer. We Both Must Fade. 1869.