Janelle Jimenez

Art History

Janelle Jimenez has always had a passion for creativity and visual arts. Janelle will be graduating from the University of Colorado Denver with a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and minors in Educational Studies and Human Development and Family Relations in May 2024. Janelle hopes to take the valuable skills she has learned from her Art History coursework and apply them toward a career in museum education. Janelle’s research interests include ancient Egyptian art tattooing practices and mourning art from the Victorian period. After graduation, Janelle intends to pursue a graduate degree in museum studies.

Thesis Title
Grieving through Art: Mourning in the Victorian Era

The art-historical value of post-mortem photography from the Victorian period is often overlooked because of its macabre nature. The grim view of this specific form of death portraiture has caused scholars to shy away from researching its cultural significance. Current scholarship has just begun to develop an appreciation for this art practice. The distinctive artistic practice of post-mortem photography, used to preserve the memory of the deceased, provides valuable insight into visual expressions of grief in the second half of the 19th century. This project analyzes the formal qualities and historical context of a set of post-mortem photographs from Europe and the United States. Although shocking to modern-day viewers, staged photographs of the deceased taken during the Victorian Era represent a shift in funerary practices that replace symbolic with explicit representation. This shift can be attributed to the popularization of grieving practices stemming from Queen Victoria and the advent of photography. This thesis argues that explicit photographs of the dead helped mourners in their process of grief by providing concrete images for documentation and memorialization. Popularized during a period of photographic technology and visceral expressions of sorrow, post-mortem photography from the Victorian period is a distinctive and short-lived art form worthy of examination.