Melissa Hyde on the Saint Aubins at the Bard Graduate Center

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 30, 2011

From the Bard Graduate Center:

Melissa Hyde, Needling: Embroidery and Satire in the Hands of the Saint-Aubins
Bard Graduate Center, New York, 16 February 2011

This talk will explore the themes of social satire and self-parody that are to be found in the illicit and uncensored drawings of the Livre de caricatures tant Bonnes que mauvaises, a collaborative work produced over several decades of the eighteenth century by the Saint Aubins, a family of artists (and embroiderers). A private, though monumental work comprised of nearly 400 drawings, the Livre engages with a dizzying array of highly topical and often hermetic subjects. This lecture will focus on a few images that satirize “effeminate” men, particularly society men who reputedly practiced embroidery and other forms of needlework. The talk will consider how these images relate to similar thematics in contemporary theater and to broader cultural anxieties about the undue influence of women like Mme de Pompadour – one of the Saint Aubin’s patrons and a favorite target in the Livre de caricatures. Taking into account that the patriarchs of the Saint Aubin family were themselves extremely successful royal embroiderers, this talk will also address some of the ways in which the Livre playfully and self-reflexively parodies the Saint Aubins themselves. (more…)