The silhouette: from the 18th century to the present day

Also Known As: Silhouette

by  Georges Vigarello / Augusta Dorr


From bone-crushing corsets to modern 'slimming' creams, our preoccupation with the silhouette has shaped centuries of fashion and culture. The contours of the body can convey everything from physical health and beauty to social class - and both men and women have long sought to mold and reshape them, often with alarming and even dangerous results. Tracing the history of the silhouette from its birth in 18th century portrait sketches, this book takes the reader on a journey through 250 years of a cultural obsession

Table Of Contents

  • A new word, a new line : The invention of the word "silhouette" (18th century)
  • The art of "silhouetting"
  • From shaded faces to shaded figures
  • From the mezzotint to the romantic aesthetic : The Enlightenment and emergence of morphology
  • Before the "silhouette": early incarnations
  • The quest for detail: the triumph of the "full-length" profile portrait
  • The complex and curious realm of the shadow
  • The romantic perspective
  • Innovations in graphic art : A process expands: press and image
  • A word expands: physical and moral significance
  • The silhouette: a social "museum" in the 19th century
  • The "invention" of morphology
  • The silhouette: an academic approach
  • The silhouette and fashion in the romantic era
  • A wealth of creativity in graphic art
  • From the press to the poster
  • The art of expression : Photography and figures in motion
  • The female contour: from slender to erotic
  • The nude becomes "commonplace"
  • The honing of the female form
  • A growing personal imperative
  • The honing of the male form
  • The theme of decline
  • The quest to classify
  • The tragic danger of "race"
  • The realms of expression and information
  • Between curves and muscles
  • The emergence of psychology: the dawn of a cult?
  • V. The contemporary silhouette : Radical changes in the figure
  • The challenge of identity
  • The silhouette: the mastery and weakness of the body
  • Conclusion


History / Silhouettes / Human beings in art


Published London ; New York : Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2016,
Language English
Material 184 p.
ISBN 1474244653 / 9781474244657
In Process -TCDC Commons Samyan In Transit

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