image id: ps_prn_cd39_564
Unknown artist, after Miss Hoare of Bath (possibly Mary Hoare, 1744–1820)
A Modern Venus, or a Lady of the Present Fashion
NYPL, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, Print
A Modern Venus was originally a rough sketch by a Miss Hoare, possibly the
artist Mary Hoare. It is shown here as it was later professionally engraved.
(The surname is comical, but the Hoares were a prominent family of artists
in Bath.) The image satirizes the puffed-out and puffed-up styles of the mid-1780s,
implying, as well, that underneath everything, all that matters about women
is their sexuality. It oddly prefigures the exhibition, from 1810 to 1815,
of Sara Baartman, a South African woman billed as "the Hottentot Venus," whose
prominent buttocks were an object of wonder to easily entertained Britons.