Archive for May 20th, 2009

The Dinner Party VW place settingAm I the only one who did not know that Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party includes a Virginia Woolf plate? Take the poll below and let me know.

The Woolf plate and its setting, one of 39 included in Chicago’s ground-breaking iconic feminist work of art, is ripe with symbolism.

It features a three-dimensional plate formed to look like a blooming flower with seeds in the center. According to Chicago, the plate itself symbolizes Woolf’s belief in unrestricted expression and the fecundity of her creative genius.

Beneath the plate, a thin chiffon fabric runner symbolizes Woolf’s fragile mental state, while underneath that, a stitched and painted light beam glows, symbolizing To the Lighthouse.

For more details about the symbolism of Woolf’s plate, go here. You can also find her friend Ethel Smyth’s plate here.

And if you are like me and have never seen Chicago’s masterpiece in person, you can view it online here as a long-term installation in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum.

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We know a lot about Virginia Woolf by reading her writing. Her essays, novels, short stories, letters and diaries reveal much about her personality and her artistry.

We look at the way Woolf shapes her words to understand who she was and the vision she tried to share.

Lidia Fogarolo, however, looks at Woolf from another angle. She looks at what the shape of her letters and the spacing between her words can tell us about Woolf herself.

Lidia Fogoralo is a graphologist and the director of the Morettian Graphology School in Padua, Italy. She provides an analysis of Woolf’s handwriting on her Web site.

Fogarola says Woolf’s handwriting indicates her propensity to engage in powerful criticism of herself and her writing and a chronic dissatisfaction with her own ability to express concepts that were important to her.

“In fact, her handwriting shows not only exceptional mental qualities, but also exceptional qualities of her feeling, deeply original, sensitive, intuitive,” according to Fogarolo.

Woolf is one of just seven famous individuals who Fogarolo analyzes on her site. You can read background on Woolf here and the full analysis of Woolf’s handwriting here.

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