This essay seeks to expand our understanding of ekphrasis and its dynamics by analyzing the poetry of Anne Finch. In the standard model constructed by critics from the eighteenth century to the present, ekphrasis represents a contest between poetry and visual art that applies a gendered hierarchy to the arts: poetry is masculinized and painting feminized; a masculine speaker describes a feminine object. Founded exclusively on the work of male poets, this account has not yet considered how eighteenth-century female poets contributed to this tradition. Through her ekphrastic practice, this essay argues, Finch rejects the aesthetic binary that relegates women to the position of objects rather than speakers, censures those who would deny women's participation in the arts, and proves that women can claim both verbal authority and visual power.

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