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The Silhouette: From The 18th Century To The Present Day Hardcover

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AuthorGeorges Vigarello
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication Date22/Sep/16
Book DescriptionFrom bone-crushing corsets to modern `slimming' creams, our preoccupation with the silhouette has shaped centuries of fashion and culture. The contours of the body can convey everything from physical health and beauty to social class - and both men and women have long sought to mold and reshape them, often with alarming and even dangerous results. Tracing the history of the silhouette from its birth in 18th century portrait sketches, this engrossing book takes the reader on a journey through 250 years of a cultural obsession. From Hogarth's `line of beauty' to the advent of nude photography, from the crinoline to the Dior suit and the early bathing costume, The Silhouette reveals how the shape of the body has become an eloquent symbol of status, sexuality and the aspirational quest for physical and moral `perfection'. Drawing on numerous textual and visual resources, leading scholar Georges Vigarello anatomizes a fixation with the human form which has shaped not just our bodies but our very identities. With over 120 color images, The Silhouette is a remarkable resource for scholars, students and fashion-lovers alike.
Editorial ReviewVigarello has written an elegant, clever book. ... [A] visual joy. * The Guardian * In this entertaining history, the sociologist and historian Georges Vigarello explores how the silhouette became associated with a quest for the ideal figure ... Gorgeously illustrated. * The Times * One of [art history's] fascinating and neglected episodes is considered by Georges Vigarello in The Silhouette ... Vigarello describes the way the silhouette affected 19th-century caricatures and what eventually became the art of the comic book. * The Spectator * The lucid text, comfortably juggling fashion and philosophy, guides us through the Gibson Girl and Dior's 'new look' to BMI and today's diet industry ... The author writes with a grace and economy that matches the silhouette itself - a genre conveying the 'most' with the 'least'. * World of Interiors * A sharp and modern analysis, free from embellishment and no subject is taboo. * Suresnes Magazine * Original, lively and abundantly illustrated, The Silhouette bridges the gap between the erudite essay and the beautiful book. * Quinzaine des Realisateurs * A fascinating and well-illustrated book that helps the reader take a fresh look at an often overused word ... Vigarello has succeeded in creating an engaging and accessible academic book. * The Journal of Dress History * In this beautifully illustrated book, Georges Vigarello skilfully weaves together three histories of the silhouette: that of its practice as an art, the history of the concept itself, and that of the body. Erudite and rigorous yet accessible and entertaining, the book brilliantly unravels the role of the body as an object of discourse at the junction of the social and the individual. * Agnes Rocamora, London College of Fashion, UK * Lively prose and gorgeous illustrations make this splendid translation of Georges Vigarello's history of the silhouette an absorbing read. Tracing the history of this art form from its eighteenth-century origins to today, this history tells us a great deal about how bodies have been perceived, manipulated and signified over time. A great read from a major scholar. * Philippa Levine, Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin, USA * This very interesting book offers an unusual and sophisticated approach to the analysis of the human body. The origin of the word 'silhouette' is fascinating and Vigarello has used this to develop an arresting critique of evolving attitudes to the management of the self in modernity. * Elizabeth Wilson, author of Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity * Sharply translated from the French, The Silhouette takes up a neglected piece of art history-the modern transformation in representations of the human form from the age of Gainsborough to the age of Lagerfeld. With a strong theme and a broad sweep, it is constructed on a conversation between aesthetic forms and historical context, with a method that combines the perfect anecdote and the perfect image. Indeed, the book is worth owning for the beautiful illustrations alone. * Steven Zdatny, Professor of History, University of Vermont, USA *
About the AuthorGeorges Vigarello is a historian and sociologist. He is Research Director at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris, France. He has published widely on topics ranging from Concepts of Cleanliness (Cambridge) and The History of Rape: Sexual Violence in France from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century (Polity) to The Metamorphoses of Fat: A History of Obesity (Columbia).
Number of Pages192

The Silhouette: From The 18th Century To The Present Day Hardcover

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