When artists became intellectuals. Female artistic persona and science as a significant other

Julia Dahlberg


Focusing on the Finnish-Swedish artist and writer Helena Westermarck (1857-1938) the article will show how the prestigious position of science and scientists affected the previously existing models of artistic persona around the beginning of the 20th century. Constructing an intellectual comradeship with her brother, the internationally well-know sociologist and anthropoligist Edward Westermarck (1862-1939), Helena Westermarck often reffered to the exceptiona intellectual and analythical capacities of the artist which according to her called the artist to act as an expert on humanity in the same way as a sociologist was an expert of human behaviour and the mechanisms of human society. Arguing that the prestige of science could be used to lend credibility to the artistic persona, the article will discuss some of the ideas that led Westermarck to gradually mould her role as an artist into the persona of a public intellectual, writer and self-supporting (single) woman on equal terms with her brother.


Artistic persona; intellectuals; intellect; creativity; science

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2018vol4no1art688


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