Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
© 2013 Sophia R. Forman
At the nexus of the seemingly disparate art-theoretical topics of color and the female nude is a critical consideration of phenomenology in both one of its most basic senses—as the first-person experience of perceived phenomena—and as a larger philosophical position which, through its abstraction of perception to subject-object relationships, implicates the painted figure. Specifically, this paper conflates the phenomenology of color with the transcendental phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in investigating empathy. Structured as a dialectic, it establishes the most prominent views of both color and the female nude—the nude as a symbolic figure, color as perceptual experience—before delving into their various points of theoretical and art-historical intersection within these categories. This analysis ultimately forms the argument that color can be a powerful tool in reclaiming the female nude figure, stimulating emotive bodies that inspire empathetic viewers and intersubjective rather than objectifying, or abjectifying, dialogues.
Forman, Sophia R., "Bringing Back Color, Bringing Back Emotion: Exploring Phenomenological Empathy in the Reclamation of the Female Nude in Painting" (2013). Scripps Senior Theses. 187.