The Airy and the Irrational: Elaborating on the Meanings of the Petimetra from a Selection of Goya’s Caprichos and the Spanish Periodical El Censor

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ana M. Hontanilla, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: In the final years of the eighteenth century, a number of Francisco de Goya’s etchings from his collection known as Caprichos visually inscribed the female within the literary production of his time, most evidently perhaps within the satirical publication El Censor. The eighteenth-century Spanish female prototype, depicted in a number of El Censor’s essays and later seen in a few of Goya’s Caprichos, was the petimetra: a cultural invention employed and exploited with misogynist tone. The petimetra was a contemporary fashionably dressed woman, mainly adopting French styles, who may equally have been a member of the aristocracy or the middle social groups. It was a figure present in eighteenth-century Spanish iconography and literature and was used to criticize those who adopted affected, artificial and pretentious styles. The petimetra was a pejorative word that ridiculed thoughtless imitation of foreign influences.

Additional Information

Decimonónica 5.1 (Winter 2008): 48-70.
Language: English
Date: 2008
Francisco de Goya, Caprichos, El Censor, petimetra

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