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Humanities Seminar: Works in the Works – Pinkie and The Blue Boy: Material Culture and Immigrant Identity
In June Cleaver’s home, reproductions of Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy (1770) and Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Pinkie (1794) hang in the foyer. For television viewers who tuned in to watch their favorite postwar family sitcom, “Leave it to Beaver,” the paintings represented traditional gender roles and a new type of domestic affluence and consumerism for middle-class Americans. The same reproductions hung in Paolina Belluccia’s Florida room. For family viewers and visitors, the paintings conjured up a range of emotions surrounding the politics of Italian identity and American domestic values. In this lecture, Dr. Scannell explores the peculiar presence and placement of these middle-class adornments in a contemporary immigrant’s home.