Despite pioneering reclamation efforts, feminist rhetoricians have only scratched the surface of the multilayered historical reception and representation of Aspasia, a fifth-century BCE Milesian woman famous for the company she kept. Aspasia’s penchant for historical perseverance means that her recovery must extend far beyond the ancient world. Throughout the centuries roused by the so-called Woman Question, she was on the lips and brush-tips of many on the lookout for antecedent and analogous women to serve as models or antimodels. Focusing on nineteenth-century Europe, we illustrate her powerful presence in art. Our discussion showcases Aspasia conversing (Nicolas-André Monsiau), instructing (Honoré Daumier), and contemplating (Henry Holiday). In their work Aspasia resists attempts to mute her colors and reemerges as a painted lady.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Literature and Literary Theory