Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain by Tara Zanardi

Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain

byTara Zanardi

Hardcover | March 8, 2016

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Majismo, a cultural phenomenon that embodied the popular aesthetic in Spain from the second half of the eighteenth century, served as a vehicle to “regain” Spanish heritage. As expressed in visual representations of popular types participating in traditional customs and wearing garments viewed as historically Spanish, majismo conferred on Spanish “citizens” the pictorial ideal of a shared national character.

In Framing Majismo, Tara Zanardi explores nobles’ fascination with and appropriation of the practices and types associated with majismo, as well as how this connection cultivated the formation of an elite Spanish identity in the late 1700s and aided the Bourbons’ objective to fashion themselves as the legitimate rulers of Spain. In particular, the book considers artistic and literary representations of the majo and the maja, purportedly native types who embodied and performed uniquely Spanish characteristics. Such visual examples of majismo emerge as critical and contentious sites for navigating eighteenth-century conceptions of gender, national character, and noble identity. Zanardi also examines how these bodies were contrasted with those regarded as “foreign,” finding that “foreign” and “national” bodies were frequently described and depicted in similar ways. She isolates and uncovers the nuances of bodily representation, ultimately showing how the body and the emergent nation were mutually constructed at a critical historical moment for both.

About The Author

Tara Zanardi is Assistant Professor of Art History at Hunter College. Tara Zanardi is Assistant Professor of Art History at Hunter College.

Details & Specs

Title:Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Eighteenth-Century SpainFormat:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 10 × 8 × 0.98 inPublished:March 8, 2016Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271067241

ISBN - 13:9780271067247

Customer Reviews of Framing Majismo: Art and Royal Identity in Eighteenth-Century Spain


Extra Content

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations



1 Majismo, the Spanish National Character, and the Elite Cultivation of Cultural Patrimony

2 Swaggering Majos: Performing the Masculine Ideal

3 Performing the Bullfight: Spanish Bodies as Noble Spectacle

4 Majas, Elites, and Female Agency

5 Majismo and Elite Identity





Editorial Reviews

“Zanardi's study of majismo, a cultural phenomenon of later eighteenth-century Spain, is a welcome contribution to the literature in English. . . . The author reads the Spanish elite's embracing of majo culture through social performance and artistic patronage as a means of recuperating Spanish heritage and claiming native authenticity. Zanardi is rigorous in analyzing the ways in which visual art participated in and complicated this construction of national character. Through probing examination and theorizing of the clothing, class, body, and gender depicted in paintings, prints, and sculptures by Spanish and non-Spanish artists, the author challenges the unsteady binaries in majo representation—native and foreign, royalty and commoner, masculine and feminine, traditional and modern. Recommended.”—A. Luxenberg, Choice