Take a Seat – Take a Moment 22

No 3 Bus, Cambridge, January 2020

‘Women reading in art refers to any artistic work representing or portraying one or more women in the act of reading. This subject matter is quite common, with images appearing as early as the 14th century.[1] Viewers are often exposed to a private, personal moments through these works. Reading Woman (c.1660) by Pieter Janssans Elinga portrays reading as an intimate and introspective activity.’

‘Beyond the exchange of ideas between author and reader, scholar James Conlon, describes reading as an intimate and erotic subject, through the captivating book that touches and holds the reader’s attention, and offers tactile pleasure in weight. As a result, the image of a woman reading becomes one of sexual subversion, and a source of fear for the male viewer or artist. In Western, patriarchal societies, Conlon argues, the act of reading takes a woman out of subservient role and into a context where personal pleasure, knowledge, and enjoyment is literally in her hands.’  Wikipedia

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