R.Lichtenstein’s Romance comics

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A notorious Romance comics series is one of the most well-known parts of Lichtenstein`s art works. Based on an essential element of American mass culture, comic strips, these artworks ultimately became a source of inspiration for contemporary artists themselves. Although from the late 1950s to the early 1960s there were a number of artists whose works derived from the comic strips, it was R. Lichtenstein who perfectly embodied the very essence of the mass-cultural stereotypes, myths and preconceptions.

 

As a rule, Lichtenstein`s Romance series feature typical female characters all painted in vibrant chemical colors and schematized manner. Dot pattern is always obviously evident, emphasizing the serial and mechanical nature of the pictures. Among most popular works of the Romance series are Drowning Girl, Hopeless, M-maybe

 

R.Lichtenstein adapts common gender stereotypes: attractive women are almost always depicted in a state of waiting for a man, crying, sighing and in other ways displaying a passive, emotionally-obsessed and inconsistent  female nature.

 

Words and phrases in thought bubbles, strictly correlating with the typical character depicted , are integral to the main idea of Lichtenstein`s artworks. These phrases and separate words are extremely emotional, sentimental and, at the same time, fuzzy, incongruous and even illogical.

 

Lichtenstein questions gender roles, accentuates already existing preconceptions and prejudices felt by women in western society by making visualization of them grotesque and even absurd.  Something that we are likely to omit and pay no attention to suddenly become vivid and obvious. That is a suggestive and astonishing power of art.  

by Tieriekhova Masha

 

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