The Celebrity Monarch: Empress Elisabeth and the Modern Female Portrait, 1848-1918


Mellon/ACLS Community College Faculty Fellowships


Communications, Arts, and Humanities


Combining art historical research with exhibition and teaching opportunities specific to Delaware County Community College, “The Celebrity Monarch” explores the influence of celebrity portraiture on the visual arts. A renowned beauty whose photographs were collected across Europe, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-1898) was both a consumer of celebrity culture and producer of imagery that shaped modern female portraiture. Images of celebrity queens like Elisabeth saturated the visual culture of nineteenth-century Europe, yet such aristocratic imagery rarely appears within considerations of the shifting stylistic and contextual strategies of modern art. The book manuscript “The Celebrity Monarch” argues for the critical role of celebrity monarchs in constructing modern portraiture between 1848 and 1918. This research informs a Spring 2020 exhibition examining celebrity portraiture within twenty-first century art in the College Art Gallery, which serves as a central case study within a humanities course about contemporary art practices and critical viewing.