Painted Gladiatrices: Women, art and the 18th century Social Arena (11th April 2013 - 13th April 2013)

full name / name of organization: 
Lauren Puzier, Sotheby's Institute of Art; Heather Carroll, The University of Edinburgh

In an oft-quoted letter from 29 July, 1782 to Fanny Burney, Edmund Burke comments on how he lives 'in an age distinguished by producing extraordinary women.' Burke has proved his powers of foresight, for it is difficult to speak of the eighteenth century without mention of at least one woman who made a significant impact on European history. How were so many women able to step beyond their conventional roles and cause those such as Burke to take notice?

This session will explore the development/creation of women's social images through art in the eighteenth century. What were the relationships between social and visual images of women? Of particular interest is how art conveyed women's roles in the social spectrum.

Recently, historians such as Robert Darnton and Nicholas Hammond have drawn attention to the importance, prevalence and power of gossip in this period, while recent exhibitions have highlighted the importance of eighteenth-century women and art. This session will consider women's relationship in the fierce social arena of the eighteenth century and the role art played within it.

Paper abstracts are invited for submission for the 2013 Association of Art Historians (AAH) Conference academic session, Painted Gladiatrices: Women, Art and the Eighteenth-Century Social Arena.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to either Heather Carroll ( or Lauren Puzier ( by 9 October 2012.

For more information and submission details see: