20 Questions


A side questions:

When I was wandering in the MET and I noticed that some male portrait tend to have same gesture like shown above. And it only exists in male portrait. Putting one hand into the clothes. I wonder if there’s some political meaning of this gesture since these characters in the portraits had enough power or richness in order to get painted.

 Why all the female portraits or painting in general carrying flowers?

Actually most photos I took of female figure tended to carry flowers. So I started to wondering about if the objects the figure carried can reveal their gender or even gender role?

For instance, female tended to carry flowers, diaries, babies. And that represented female, girlhood, motherhood, etc.

Instead, male always carried documents, pens, etc.


The jewelry in this picture is very eye-catching and it makes me think about gender.

Does jewelry help people to identify the gender of the figure?Does jewelry has significant meaning in the portrait?

Does male wear jewelry in the portrait?





The gesture in this picture is very graceful, in facts, all the hands I took of female portrait are similar. They tended to carefully carry a tiny flowers or objects.

Are those gesture intentionally made up by painter or the actually figure were doing this gesture? According to my knowledge, painters that time were mainly male, so do they put their ideal perspective into those figure panting? 





This is a part of an old lady’s portrait. This one distinguish from others because of her fist. The fist may represents power, manhood. But here the fist was presented by an old lady.

Does age has something to do with the gesture in the portrait? For instance, old lady should has certain gestures or young lady should has certain gestures? (Because the painter controls all the gesture)





Knitting old lady.

Does the gesture or the object the figure was carrying helped us understand certain gender role in that time?

Does the object that the figure was holding helped us to identify gender?





This is a part of male portrait.

Are there any differences between how to paint male hands and females hands that time?

Do painters that time paint differently of male hands and female hands?

The male hands are solid and female hands are soft.




What kind of book she was looking?

Does the look of book tell her identity/class?







I have seen this gesture over and over again. Are those gestures very popular in female portrait?

What kind of flowers she was carrying? Can the flower tells people where she was?(Some flowers have origins, specific to some locations, so does what kind of flower tells people more information?)






I found this gesture very playful and teasing since she was playing with her necklace.

Does such gesture tell people her class or identity? Is she mannered? Is that common in the portrait? (Because the gesture looks a little flirty or provocative)





What’s her gender role?

Is she a housewife or maid?







How we identify the gender in this picture?

The content might lead us to guess it’s a female but the style of hand might lead us to male.

When the difference of painting male and female hands starts?





Does fan in portrait has significant meaning?

Does fan appear in male portrait?

What fan can tells people?

Does fan carry a positive meaning or negative meaning?





What’s his identity?

Does staff have a meaning?

What’s the purpose of the painting?







Even though there’s a lot of gesture that were holding flowers. They differed from each others.

Does holding flower downward have different meaning?






Does the style of painting hands vary from time or different artists?

Are those painters famous?

why holding a fruit instead of flowers?

Any significant meaning?







This is a sculpture.

But even though she was holding the fist but it seems very powerless?

Why female gesture always seem very powerless?






Why some portraits have same gesture like this?

Meaning of the gesture?







When this kind of showing motherhood starts in sculpture?

Is there any other gesture that could show motherhood?

What if there’s no baby, does that change the meaning of this piece?


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