Professional Women

Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
Title Strolling Actresses Dressing in a Barn
Artist William Hogarth
Date 1738
Medium Etching and engraving
Location The Art Institute of Chicago

A copy of the 1737 Act of Parliament Against Strolling Players next to the bed reveals that this is the unlicensed troop's last performance before these lower-class, professional women will be forced to turn to other occupations. This is a female-dominated space, in which male characters are represented by masquerading women. The actresses, centered around the topsy-turvy rendition of Diana, the goddess of chastity, appear independent and professional, unsullied by the male voyeur peering at them from a crack in the roof.

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