Thursday, October 18, 2012

"For Most of History, Anonymous was a Woman" - Virginia Woolf

     Throughout time the perspective of women constantly changed. During the Middle Ages woman's pureness and chasity was the only way of life. With the Christian Church as dominant at this time the only options women had were to bear children or devote yourself to God. But as time continued women found ways around the social and physical restraints posed by the church and man. Many women found there way into the art scene by using the church becoming artistic nuns. Despite biblical teachings against the women of the Middle Ages during the 15th century in Bruges, Belgium porduced 25% female membership of illuminators guilds. Art became a strict subject in churches ever since. (Guerilla Girls 19)

     The Renaissance's women born into nobility such as Sofonisba Anguissola with the guidance of her father was aided by Michelangelo to achieve success in the art world. Anguissola painted several uniquely and astonishing self portrait, she was also brought to Spain to work with the Spanish court as Court Painter and also Lady In Waiting. Although Anguissola was restricted to selling her paintings she was the first woman painter to achieve fame and respect (Chadwick 79). Elisabetta Sirani's Portia Wounding Her Thigh (1664) spoke volumes of women wanting to be heard, respected and given that equal oppurtunity that men had received. Sirani works were too exceptional that her signature on a piece she made meant accusations of fruad.To redeem her name she began to paint in public.

    Thanks to Queen Victoria's reign during the 19th century a relief came for women in 1837. When women had a few rights, Victorian homes daily maintenance, motherhood, and managerial tasks were to much to handle throughout the day. Jobs as servants and governesses came into existence giving Middle and Upper class women a break they took on art which also made them (servants, governesses) the new subject of art.

    The 19th century Victorian England opened many doors to women in the art scene compared to the Middle Ages. By the 19th century women were experimenting with cameras, sculpting, quilts, and animals. Like Rosa Bonheur, her focus was with animals unlike the stereotypical women painters. The Horse Fair showed that she was still a women by using an elegant animal such as a horse to depict women and their struggle of being free to do as they please and the men being men putting a stop to anything unsufficient to them.

     In comparison from the 19th century to the Middle Ages Joan of Arc was a cross dresser whom led soldiers into battle and won while Rosa Bonheur had a permit from a doctor to dress in that manner. Women and slaves were illiterate and forbidden to be taught to paint while in the 19th century Edmonia Lewis was considered an exotic oddity because she was a mixed African American being capable of doing the artwork she has done.As time continues to grow so shall the women of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment