Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Eternal Feminine by Katelyn Eichwald

Paul Cézanne, The Eternal Feminine, 1877.Oil on canvas. 17 x 20 7/8 in.  (Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum)

In Paul Cézanne's The Eternal Feminine, men from different occupations (musicians, painters, a bishop) surround a female nude. Although The Eternal Feminine relates to much of Katelyn Eichwald's work, where women are painted in vulnerable situations and/or as a mere object to the male mythology, Eichwald appropriated Paul Cézanne's painting including it within the context of her body of work.

The context in which Eichwald presents the painting is very distant from the Cézanne piece. 
The Eternal Feminine by Cézanne was painted in 1877. The painting is part of the J. Paul Getty Museum collection and is seen by thousands of people daily. Eichwald's The Eternal Feminine, on the other hand, was painted in 2012. The painting lives in her one-bedroom apartment in Chicago and the only person who has seen Eichwald's The Eternal Feminine in person (other than herself) is her boyfriend Michael. 

The distant history of both objects does not stop there. In 1954, the female nude in Cézanne's The Eternal Feminine was given a retouch to make her look less disturbing and more feminine. Only in 1991, Cézanne's The Eternal Feminine was restored to its "original." Eichwald's The Eternal Feminine female nude always had her red socket eyes.

While in most interpretations of Cézanne's The Eternal Feminine, a bald figure admiring the female nude might be Cézanne, in Eichwald's The Eternal Feminine, the bald figure is Cézanne. Also, in Eichwald's The Eternal Feminine, the female nude might be Eichwald herself (with her long golden hair). 

The Eternal Feminine has been known by many other titles such as The Golden Calf, The Triumph of
Woman, Apotheosis of Woman, La Belle Impéria, and The Whore of Babylon, while Eichwald's painting is only known by The Eternal Feminine. 

Paul Cézanne, The Eternal Feminine, 1877. (Picture between 1954-1991/ Without red eye sockets). (Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum) 

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