Visualizing Colonial Beauty: Female Figure Paintings of Yi Yu-tae, 1943-1944
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This thesis aims to reexamine images of Korean women as signs that represent the intertwined imperial and patriarchal masculine desires as depicted in the Female Figure Paintings of Korean artist Yi Yu-tae (1916-1999): Women: Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment (1943) and A Pair of Figures: Rhyme and Research (1944). Existing interpretations of both works are problematic because they see the depictions of women in the paintings as representative of Korean women in 1940s. By investigating the Pacific War time gender hegemonies, like the "Wise Mother, Good Wife" rhetoric that opposed that of the "New Woman," and exploring Japanese Imperial Orientalism towards Korea, this study will provide an alternative reading of Yi's two Female Figure Paintings. By demonstrating how male psyches were projected on women during this period of Korean history, this thesis aims to offer a feminist understanding of Yi's images of women.