Tessin Lecture | Melissa Hyde on Pink and Portraits

Posted in conferences (to attend), lectures (to attend) by Editor on August 30, 2022

Jean-Baptiste Perronneau, Portrait of Olivier Journu, 1756, pastel on blue-gray laid paper, laid down on canvas, 58 × 47 cm
(New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003.26)

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This conference marks the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Sweden’s national portrait gallery at Gripsholm. Melissa Hyde will deliver this year’s Tessin lecture as the keynote address on Thursday, 15 September. The full conference schedule is available here.

Statens porträttsamling 200 år / The State Portrait Collection: 200 Years
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm and Gripsholm Castle, Mariefred, 15–16 September 2022

Melissa Hyde, In the Pink: Eighteenth-Century French Portraiture

Though never as ubiquitous in the eighteenth century as the colour blue, pink became the colour par excellence of the French Rococo. The colour was intimately associated with the so-called ‘Godmother of the Rococo’, Madame de Pompadour, the famous mistress of Louis XV. But even before Pompadour, pink was a hue much favored amongst elites in France, where it attained an unprecedented level of visibility in the visual and decorative arts and in the fashions worn by women, children, and men. This talk will demonstrate why, in the eighteenth-century, to wear pink was to make a statement—a statement made all the more emphatic and enduring when memorialized in portraiture; and one in which gender, class and/or race played a fundamental role. These matters concerning portraiture ‘in the pink’ will be addressed by way of some very basic, but actually quite complicated, questions: what did pink mean in the eighteenth century? What colors were comprehended by ‘pink’? Who did or didn’t embrace this color and why? In light of the complexities and nuances of pink, what might it have meant for a racially ‘white’ Frenchman to wear this notionally feminine colour (or to have himself depicted wearing it)?

Melissa Hyde is Professor and Distinguished Teaching Scholar at the University of Florida. Her scholarly interests include: women artists, and more broadly, the gendering of aesthetic culture, the cultural meanings of color, the history of the Salon and art criticism, self-portraiture, and questions of identity and place. She teaches courses on European art (c. 1650–1830), as well as courses on gender and the visual arts from the late Renaissance to the early nineteenth century. Professor Hyde’s research and publications focus on gender and visual culture in eighteenth- century France. Her work has appeared in The Art Bulletin, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, and numerous edited volumes. Key publications include Making Up the Rococo: François Boucher and His Critics (2006), Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment (catalogue for an exhibition she co-curated in 2017), and numerous book chapters and articles. She is author of two recent essays on the contemporary pastel artist, Nicolas Party. She is currently completing a book project entitled, Painted by Herself: Marie-Suzanne Giroust: Madame Roslin, the Forgotten Académicienne.

The Tessin Lecture
Once a year the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm invites a prominent international scholar to give a lecture in art history. The lecture, which is public, is a way to pay tribute to an exceptional scholar in art history and emphasize the museum’s commitment to research.

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