Added: April 2, 2016 – Last updated: April 2, 2016


Author: Kate Nichols

Title: Arthur Hacker’s Syrinx (1892)

Subtitle: Paint, classics and the culture of rape

Journal: Feminist Theory

Volume: 17

Issue: 1

Year: April 2016 (Published online: December 29, 2015)

Pages: 107-126

ISSN: 1464-7001 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1741-2773 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century | European History: English History | Representations: Art


Link: SAGE Journals (Restricted Access)


Author: Kate Nichols, Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of

Abstract: »Representations of rape and sexual violence abound in Victorian painting, but art historical analysis of this phenomenon has been scarce. This article uses Arthur Hacker’s 1892 painting Syrinx to examine late nineteenth-century approaches and responses to visually representing rape. How did the representation of rape relate to the newly respectable aesthetic category of the artistic nude? Syrinx depicts a standing unclothed young woman attempting to cover her body with reeds, subject matter derived from Book I of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The painting has been on public display in Manchester Art Gallery since 1893. This article examines how a rape narrative from antiquity was remade as part of the public culture of Victorian Britain, examining the aesthetic, material, literary, legal, medical and museum contexts in which its meanings were produced. It also considers how the representation of rape in this Victorian painting continues to be rethought in Manchester Art Gallery today.« (Source: Feminist Theory)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England | Visual arts: Painting / History of painting; 19th-century English painters: Arthur Hacker