Aspects of Acceptance and Denial in Painted Posthumous Portraits and Postmortem Photographs of Nineteenth-Century Children
Référence bibliographique 
Beattie, Kathryn. 2006. «Aspects of Acceptance and Denial in Painted Posthumous Portraits and Postmortem Photographs of Nineteenth-Century Children». Mémoire de maîtrise, Montreal, Université Concordia, Département d’histoire de l’art.
Intentions : « [The author looks] at the role that posthumous portraits played in the mourning processes of bereaved nineteenth-century parents - whether through promoting the fantasy that the deceased child was still somehow alive (a strategy that is most obvious in painted posthumous mourning portraits, but also evident in many postmortem photographs) or through acknowledging the blatant reality of the corpse (an approach quite readily associated with postmortem photographs). The two seemingly opposing ways of remembering a dead child reflect the paradox of the Victorians’ simultaneous acceptance and denial of death. » (pp. 2-3)
Échantillon/Matériau : - Ten painted posthumous portraits of Canadian children, mostly from a Protestant, middle or upper class background in Ontario or Quebec. - « With respect to photography, [the author refers] to a group of postmortem images consisting of daguerreotypes, cartes-de-visite, cabinet cards and framed photographs, most of which are in the Notman Collection at the McCord Museum (Montreal), the Photography Collection at Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa), and the Photographic Collection at the Archives of Ontario (Toronto). » (p. 14)
Type de traitement des données : Analyse de contenu
« The Victorian romanticizing of death, childhood and the family helped people to cope with flux and uncertainty in an era of social upheaval. Faced with high infant mortality rates, Victorian parents used culture in diverse ways to mourn and remember their dead children. But to believe that with the reality of high infant and child mortality rates came total acknowledgement and resignation is an inaccurate assumption. In fact, many Victorian parents both accepted and denied the deaths of their children. The simultaneous acceptance and denial of death is personified in both the painted posthumous mourning portraits which represented the dead child as alive and often life-size, and the much smaller, blatant images of corpses found in the postmortem photographs. This thesis considers these two types of mourning images which flourished side by side for over sixty years, and addresses the question of why the same society would find two such seeming opposites - in format and subject - equally suitable and acceptable as forms through which to remember a deceased child. It is only when we realize that Victorian society actually dealt with death simultaneously in two extremely different ways - denial and romantic acceptance - that these ostensibly contradictory types of images begin to make sense. » (p. v)