With the advent of photography in the second half of the 19th century new pictorial motifs were created. In addition to studio shots, there was a steady increase of scholars being depicted in private environments. Compositions of couples were a particularly popular motif. The images transport a contemporary gender relationship, that assigns men and women different roles in as much as they follow a constant pattern, which is the basis for the gender-specific distribution of activity and passivity. The men explain, read and demonstrate, whereas the women constrain themselves to listening and watching. Thus, the women in the pictures take less of an active role. Rather, they are defined by their relationship to the male subject.

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