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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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Performance Anxiety and the Belated Viewer

Performance Anxiety and the Belated Viewer

(p.105) 6 Performance Anxiety and the Belated Viewer
Manhood, Marriage, and Mischief

Harry Berger Jr.

Fordham University Press

The real purpose of the fiction of collective posing is to pretend to overcome, but actually to feature, the separateness of the individual participants who vie for the observer's attention. The formal and social disaggregation that threatens to demystify the pretext of collective posing thus ultimately reinforces and justifies it. Performance anxiety is to be read into or out of portraits, it has to be keyed, not to the vague parameters of the universal viewer, but to the social, political, economic, and cultural pressures of that local neighborhood. The argument Knevel makes would be better served by translating it into Kettering's terms, for the inventory of qualities he attributes to the militia portraits in these and other passages suggests precisely the form of embarrassment or performance anxiety she picks out.

Keywords:   disaggregation, posing, performance anxiety, Knevel, Kettering, militia portraits

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