The history of women in arts can be seen from two different points of view: the first one is where women are presented as object of artwork and the other as women in the active role of artist.
Following that, the first topic can easily summerize the evolution of the representation of woman in art, from the prehistoric age to nowadays. In the prehistoric culture, women embodied the symbol of maternity, fertility and fecundity. Because of that, they were usually represented emphasizing their maternal attributes (big breast and big stomach).
In the Greek society, figurative arts usually referred to Gods and the women mostly represented the divinity ones; a similar situation belongs to the roman culture where it was common to portray the prostitutes.
During the middle age, where religion had the greatest power and influence upon society, artists used to represent the figure of woman as holy virgin. Their illustration was, in fact, always kind, angelic, placid.
Around 15th century, portraits gained importance. Women were dressed in expensive clothes and jewelry to present wealth. They presented their husband’s wealth and social status. Portraits were for male viewers. Belief from the 16th century: “A woman’s betrayal of her husband is more serious than a husband’s betrayal of his wife because she has no other virtue to lose.”.
Between 1800 and 1900 the image of women start to embody the figure of the witch, instead the one of the angel, and that was linked to the fears and the worries of the male artists who thought of women as the “femme fatale”, able to manipulate them and destroy them. We can see some relevant example in the “Madonna” by Much or in the portrait of Egon Schiele.
Through all of these times, we had female artist but their work was not recognized or even accepted due to their gender. “They were often described as unusually talented women who overcame the limitation of their gender to excel in what was believed to be a masculine field.”
By the 1990, art evolved and branched to unimaginable reach. Art was even used to send a message of women’s position in art. Today, anything can be considered art. That is why art lost primal value. Even sexism, phobias, hate speech, gender discrimination can be matter of art.
Done by: Franceska and Tamara