Maternal Breast-Feeding and Its Substitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Art


In Maternal Breast-Feeding and Its Substitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Art, Gal Ventura investigates the ideological concepts behind the endorsement of maternal breast-feeding in modern Western society. Using diverse visual and textual sources and surveying hundreds of artworks produced from the time of the French Revolution to the beginning of the twentieth century, Ventura reveals the historical, political, religious, and economic factors that shaped the representations of breast-feeding and its substitutes in French art. She thus sheds light on the changing attitudes toward maternal breast-feeding in nineteenth-century France, which have had a considerable impact on the glorification of breast-feeding in the Western world to this very day.

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Gal Ventura (Ph.D. 2009) is a senior lecturer in the art history department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a cultural art historian, and deals mainly with socio-medical aspects of family, maternity and death in nineteenth-century French art. She published numerous articles on motherhood in art, including Crying over Spilt Milk (Magnes, 2013), and is currently writing a book on babies' sleep in nineteenth-century French art.
List of Illustrations

Part 1: Mothers, Wet Nurses and Feeding Bottles

1 The History of Breast-Feeding in France
 1 The Return to Maternal Breast-Feeding
 2 Images of Breast-Feeding Bourgeois Mothers
 3 The Strengthening of the Institution of Wet-Nursing
 4 Child-Care Manuals for Mothers
 5 The Feeding Bottle and the Medicalization of Breast-Feeding

Part 2: Death and Substitute Mothers

2 Breast-Feeding and Death
 1 The Dead Mother in Flood Scenes
 2 Death and Miraculous Salvation: The Dead Mother in Religious Art
 3 Natural Disasters, Wars, Plagues, and Famine: The Dead Mother in Secular Art
 4 From the Exotic to the Contemporary: Dying from Hunger in France

3 Breast-Feeding as Benevolence: Representations of Charity
 1 “La Charité c’est moi!”: The Image of Charity from the French Revolution to the End of the Bourbon Restoration
 2 Between Secularization and Religiosity: The Image of Charity during the July Monarchy
 3 Charity as Obligation: The Image of Charity during the Second Republic
 4 Christianity and Social Justice: The Image of Charity during the Second Empire
 5 Christianity, Fertility and Nationalism: The Image of Charity During the Third Republic

4 From Sanctity to Promiscuity: The Wet Nurse
 1 ‘La mère de lait et la mère de sang’: Wet-Nursing during the French Revolution
 2 The Wet Nurse as a Second Mother: Wet-Nursing in Nineteenth-Century France
 3 The Nourrice sur lieu and the Soldier: Sexuality and Low Class

Part 3: Maternal Breast-feeding

5 Charity and Social Justice: Maternal Breast-Feeding among the Lower Classes
 1 Socialism and Christian Generosity: Destitute Beggars Breast-Feeding Outdoors
 2 Social Justice and Egalitarianism: Working-Class Mothers Breast-Feeding At Home

6 Fertility, Nature, and Work in the Fields: Maternal Breast-Feeding among the Peasantry
 1 Serenity and Fertility: Peasants Breast-Feeding in the Fields
 2 The Shattered Dream
 3 Nostalgia and Pastorality

7 A Woman’s Virtue: Portrayals of Breast-Feeding among the Bourgeoisie
 1 The Modern Madonna: Artists’ Spouses Breast-Feeding at Home
 2 Religiosity and Allegory: Bourgeois Mothers Breast-feeding in the Garden
 3 From the Personal to the Universal
 4 The Feeding Bottle: Visual Silencing versus Historical Prominence

 1 Lactivism: Breast-Feeding as an Ideology
 2 Women and Breast-Feeding
 3 Breast-Feeding in Art and Culture Today
Scholars and students interested in art history and visual studies, French studies, gender studies, women's studies, nineteenth-century French art, breastfeeding, nursing, maternity, childhood, caritas, wet-nursing, poverty, maternal death and cultural history
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