‘Bringing Home Bamboos to Paint’: Artistry, Aesthetics and Power
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This chapter explores Bodichon’s artistic becoming at the interface of her letters and paintings. I begin the chapter with a description of her artwork and her most salient writings on art and travelling. I move on to explore the unfolding of Bodichon’s artistic career at the crossroads of her epistolary and visual ‘I.’ Hence, putting into play the narrative model of Bildung I illustrate in the previous chapters, I first analyse Bodichon’s intersubjective artistic epistolary self-projections. I argue that Bodichon contributed to redefining the categories ‘woman artist’ and ‘woman’s artwork.’ I explore how this emerging epistolary artistic self stands in contrast with her visual self as projected in her artwork. I demonstrate that her letters and paintings unfold the making of a female artist through a hybrid mode of self-presentation. These epistolary and visual self-projections emerge as ‘versions’ of Bodichon as an artist—complementing, overlapping and contradicting each other.