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Manhood, Marriage, and MischiefRembrandt's 'Night Watch' and Other Dutch Group Portraits$
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Harry Berger

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225569

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823225569.001.0001

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Women with Elbows

Women with Elbows

(p.147) 10 Women with Elbows
Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Harry Berger Jr.

Fordham University Press

The word pendant, whatever its actual etymology, suggests that the ideal relation between any pair of figures is achieved when each figure is shown to depend on and lean toward the other. Whether in public or private installations, pendants on display create behind and around themselves a mural area that represents the domestic setting in which the images first hung and their subjects lived. Many pendant pairs end up divorced, in different domiciles of display. Pendants generally, and generically, advertise two things: harmonious domestic life and comfortable social standing. The elbow is a famous bone of contention. Several languages celebrate both its defensive and its aggressive behavior. Sitters would not be satisfied if their poses were carbon copies of the pendants already in their neighbors' houses. Painters can add this motive to their own desire to surpass their peers and predecessors.

Keywords:   pendant, mural area, domestic life, social standing, elbow, pose

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