Feminism and Art Essay
Feminism and Art
Feminist activity had been a rising concern in the late 1900’s which is based merely off of the emotional significance of personal and psychological reasoning. Rather than reacting on this issue based on historical evidence, the issue is based on immediate needs on the feminist attack. Linda Nochlin, and other important scholars and philosophers explain the psychology, philosophy, sociology, and history of art and the feminist movement pertaining to art.
Linda Nochlin was the author of this piece, and used both her own knowledge to write this piece, as well as other scholars and philosophers arguments, injected them into her writing, and elaborated on their ideas and arguments. When pertaining to psychology, the issues mentioned and elaborated on were how women were rejected, which led to their thoughts, feelings, and emotions being affected. Because of this, this changed their way of interpreting things, and their views of things were different from men.
From a philosophical stand point, Nochlin refers to John Stuart Mill who says that he suggests that we tend to accept things that come natural to us, or that are natural, like male domination; this means that males dominate over women, and women having no say in anything, accept what is natural because back in the day, male domination was a normal thing to women and was a natural behavior. Thinking about sociology, in society, men had to work and had to be educated. Women on the other hand were not allowed and treated as objects, and stayed home to have children and to continue on the male name.
“In general, women’s experience and situation in society, and hence as artists, is different from men’s, and certainly the art produced by a group of consciously united and purposefully articulate women intent on bodying forth a group of consciousness of feminine experience might indeed be stylistically identifiable as feminists, if not feminine art. ” Historically, women weren’t allowed to be educated unless they were wealthy, or had and greater importance over other women. This is why women didn’t know how to
paint because they weren’t allowed to learn how, this is also why there were not so many women artists back then, and if there were, they were not well known. An important question that has been posed multiple times within this piece was, “Why have there been no great women artists? ” 3 3 “Why have there been no great women artists” is what Linda is arguing. Her argument is that there are no great women artists that compare to all of these great and well-known artists that art historians study. These famous artists studied today are, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse, etc.
Linda also states that it is in human nature that men dominate women. It is an instinct that has been created ever since humans walked this earth, and is something that is still being battled today. By answering the question, “Why have there been no great women artists”, which has been questioned by many, Linda proves her arguments by referring to many who have either answered, or attempted to answer this question. Those who have either done it or attempted it are: John Stuart Mill, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Mary Ellmann.
All of these theorists/writers attempted to answer the same exact question by simply reinforcing the negative implications, or by saying that there is a different kind of greatness that exists for women, and also how experiences that women go through in society affects their art, which may mean that they were not accepted by the great viewers, which were men. Men and women have different values and interpretation of art, and to men, women’s art was nothing. When structure of this essay is concerned, it is in fact structured in a number of 4 4 ways which include, historical events, arguments, theories, and facts.
The argument is pronounced using different methods, which explains subjects using points from the other scholars and their explanations. Initially, the argument made was intangible, later it becomes clear when Nochlin first talks about the battle against feminism, and how it has been around for years, even decades. Later, she begins to say how feminism caused such emotional, and psychological damage and pain to women for a long period of time. Many reasons why feminism had occurred was explored by Nochlin, and answered the question by John Stuart Mill’s response to male dominancy.
Her reasoning for why there were no famous female artists was because of men, and how they overruled women in society; her argument was supported with many arguments written from other writers in the past. At the end of each of her arguments, she ends with the famous question, “Why have there been no great women artists”, and leaves it to be answered by another writer. Many say it is in male nature to dominate, or maybe women just can’t achieve as much greatness as men. Maybe women paint from their psychological views of things, and this was frowned upon by men; women were not allowed to think, let alone paint about what they were thinking.
When comparing known women artists to well known male artists, no woman artist compares to the master of art, Michelangelo. The next division of this essay was “The Question of the Nudes. ” “ We can now approach our question from a more reasonable standpoint, since it seems probable that the answer to why there have been no great women artists lies not in the nature of individual genius or lack of it, but in the nature of given institutions and what they forbid or encouraged in various classes or group of individuals”, p. 158. Since the 1800’s, nude models were females, and would go to school to help the new and sprouting artists to learn and practice art.
Females who wanted to participate and learn to paint the human body were rejected because society did not allow women to look at another female or male nude. Men were allowed to study the female nude because to them, they were objects. However, male nudes (models) were never classified as objects. “As late as 1893, “lady” students were not admitted to life drawing at the Royal Academy in London, and even when they were, after that date, the model had to be “partially draped.
” P. 158. Women had very little knowledge in painting and therefore were quite timid because of all the pressure that was placed on them by the society, and most commonly, men. Many of those who studied nude models and produced nude figure drawings later became doctors, and professional artists; once again women were not permitted to become either of those. In order to become a professional artist, however, you needed to be good in literature, and had to have knowledge of many techniques.
It was uncommon for women to be educated because school’s had high expectations. There were consequences if a woman wanted to be a painter. If you were a woman painter, and were substantially committed to painting, you were expected to forget about having a future. This included a husband, family, career, etc. This was the case in the 19th century because women “couldn’t focus” on more than one thing at a time according to men and society, therefore our only options were to become a painter and have no outside life, or forget about being a painter and have a family.
Women had come a long way by this time, and women were allowed to play music, sculpt, and draw, but were considered weak, and couldn’t pursue any labor work. One of the great women artists, Maurice Bompard, suffered greatly with her paintings because society classified them as being too sexual, and not serious enough; she struggled greatly to achieve the greatness she deserved. Rosa Bonheur was another well known woman artist, and her success changed the view of society on women artists, but still struggled because of her gender.
Her father was a drawing master, so she loved to draw and paint at an early age. Rosa created a new style of painting in the 19th century, and this was to paint in smaller scale. She has the ability to capture naturalism, soul, and individuality, and was well known for her “Barbizon” landscapes. 6 , 6 The rhetorical method in this piece would be repeating the question, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists”, and this depicts the importance of this issue which has been raised by all of the philosophers, writers, and art historians that have been attempting to answer this question for decades.
The tone of voice used in the essay is persuasion, frustration, and even determination, and this makes it easier for the reader to understand and illustrate what exactly the issue is and how important it is. In Nochlin’s “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists”, she states the importance of women’s history, and makes women aware of how grateful they should be with everything women are allowed to do today. Because of those many strong women who stood up for what they believed in, women today have equal rights to men, and can pursue any path they so wish to take.