Posted by: frodas | April 7, 2010

Interrupted Reading Analysis

This painting is unlike any other piece of Corot’s artwork which gives me the incentive to discover the significance behind the slouched lady with a book in her hand. From my  perspective, I see a traditional woman from the 1870’s with a book in her hands, moved away from her eyes in order to take time to reflect over what she has read. The book definitely has a lot to do with whatever argument Corot is trying to reflect in his painting “Interrupted Reading”. The way she sits, lost in thought, is projected very well in the painting. This is obviously an upper-class woman shown by the dress she is wearing, as well as, the pearls, earrings, and the fact that she is reading a book. Her slouched posture is probably due to the length it took to paint her to such detailed perfection. Without research “Interrupted Reading” is just another of Corot’s great paintings without much significant meaning.

Much of my analysis is based on the year in which this painting was created (1870). I came across a web page that contains information about “Dime Novels for Women, 1870-1920”. It has a section describing the history of reading and books, which stated that “prior to the Civil War, reading and publishing were activities confined to the upper class and upper-middle classes.” This supports my thought in thinking that she was an upper-class woman as it was limited to the wealthy until the turning point beginning at the 19th century. There have been many other similar pictures and paintings that date back to this time, which is described as follows: “She appears to have been momentarily interrupted from her pleasurable pastime, gazing directly out at the newsstand owner who has caught her in the act of reading.” I believe this description is very applicable to the painting “Interrupted Reading”. Even though this site refers to the work in America, I’m sure the same changes in education and libraries where taking place in Europe.

In conclusion, I believe this painting resembles an exact point in time (1870) at which reading and free public education was being introduced to all classes. The high class woman represents a point in time when social movements in literature were occurring. At this time, Corot has shifted his artwork from some of his more traditional landscapes to using different themes of nature, colors, and shades. His artwork is also known to have hidden poetic and lyrical meanings, similar to Tupac’s use of subliminal messages hidden in his songs.

http://chnm.gmu.edu/dimenovels/intro.html

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