Spring; Autum

Gender and social class

Gender and space

Gender stereotypes: desiring subject / desired object

These canvases by Emilio Sala decorated a celebrated Valencian café, El León de Oro. Like other fin-de-siècle establishments, it was also a focus of intellectual life. There, men, owners of the public space, would discuss political scandals, cultural activities glorifying the bourgeois, business opportunities and women. All of this was carried out under the gaze of the scantily clad allegories, who also adorned the streets and squares of a city growing at a feverish pace. Among these decorations, painted and sculptural, protectors of industry, banks and communications would soon proliferate. The modern heiresses to the ancient Virtues and Muses were devoted to supporting economic order, with no change in clothing or gestural language. And so the shift of female allegorical representations to advertising images brought few surprises. Even today, any of the delicate women in Sala’s public spaces could be used in advertisements to sell products.