DISRUPTED MORPHOLOGY: Progress, Electricity, and Medicine in Toulouse-Lautrec

September 27, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm


Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History Kenyon College

About the Lecture

In the 19th century, artificial lighting and its effects became a central preoccupation for avant-garde chroniclers of modern spectacle. Lautrec’s stark lighting effects in his paintings are  difficult to ignore. Scholars have consequently engaged with his particular mode of illumination,  but never alongside his own medical encounter with electricity. After years of leg ailments, Lautrec received electrotherapy treatments, which contorted his  muscles in attempts to reduce intermittent paralysis, cramps, and stunted growth. Alexandra Courtois argues that the artist’s experience of electricity was much more visceral. Her  presentation contextualizes Lautrec’s large painting “At the Moulin Rouge,” as well as smaller oils  and print series, tracing moments of inconsistency, ambiguity, and the emergence of recurring pictorial strategies.
This lecture is presented in conjunction with Kaliane Ung’s course Ailing Bodies: Narratives of  Health and Illness.
Registration is required for this event. For the event flyer, please click here.