<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-PWMWG4" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">
Art Diary

Femme Fatale: Gaze – Power – Gender  

2 December 2022

This exhibition at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (9 December–10 April 2023) considers how the trope of the femme fatale has been represented in art from the early 19th century to the present day. Classical renderings of the femme fatale can be traced back to biblical and mythological figures such as Salome, Medusa or the Sirens who have been widely portrayed as treacherous, fearsome women throughout literature and art. The show contends that, amid rising fears of women’s emancipation in the late 19th century, painters and writers returned to traditional notions of the sorceress, as seen in works from the Pre-Raphaelite movement such as John William Waterhouse’s Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891). But by the 1960s artists of the feminist avant-garde had set about reclaiming the hyper-sexualised tropes of the seductress and the witch as expressions of feminine power. In the exhibition, photographs by the artist and activist Nan Goldin such as Lola Modelling as Marilyn, Boston (1972) provide playful examples of how women artists have used the female body to subvert the male gaze. Find out more on the Hamburger Kunsthalle’s website.

Preview belowView Apollo’s Art Diary here

Harpyie (1894), Edvard Munch. Photo: Christoph Irrgang/Hamburger Kunsthalle/bpk

Woman Power (1979), Maria Lassnig. Albertina Museum, Vienna. Photo: Peter Kainz; © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (1891), John William Waterhouse. Photo: © Gallery Oldham