Le 'Portrait parlant' de Jean-Baptiste Belley

This essay focuses on the "construction" of masculinity in two of Anne-Louis Girodet's paintings: Portrait de Jean-Baptiste Belley (1797) and Portrait de Chateaubriand (1811). While the representation of Chateaubriand draws simply on an idealist classical model, which has never been challenged (indeed, at the time, Winckelmann's writings on the "beau idéal" were very influential), the realist representation of Belley allows the visibility of what was then the "irreprésentable." I argue that this is not a mere fixation on the sexuality of the black man, but rather a subtly representation of an unconscious "beau idéal," which could only appear/materialize via transgression of the classical model and transference on the exotic Other. (In French) (MB)

Bocquillon, Michèle.
Volume 2004-2005, 33(1-2): 35-56.