Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gender Roles

   The roles of women in the Middle Ages solely revolved around the Church. The Church was not only  a system for contending with governing power it also helped maintain a form of morality.A role that all women were expected to do is to obey not only their fathers but all male members of the family. For those who did not obey such orders were beaten as disobedience was seen as a crime against religion.However. women did find ways around such unruly events," Despite biblical teachings against them, they became writers, artists,merchants, and nuns, and ran the kingdom when their husbands were away at war"(Guerrilla Girls 19)        

     As the Renaissance era approached, women were expanding their horizons by joining guilds, which were like unions helping them accomplish things that they couldn't do before.However, to join a guild their were some requirements such as coming from a family of artistic background. "“Their careers were made possible by birth into artist families and the training that accompanied it, or into the upper class where the spread of Renaissance ideas about the desirability of education opened new possibilities for women” ( Chadwick 76).The ideal example of a female artist from this era would be Sofonisba Anguissola, who at the age of fourteen was sent by her father to study art.Her father, Amilcare Anguissola was close friends with the now famous Michelangelo, who sent a painting from Sofonisba to Michelangelo opening a new window for female artists.  
Boy Pinched by a Crayfish
Sofonisba Anguissola
    As the time periods changed so did the influences that went into the art that they created. As in the middle ages art"...became a didactic tool of the church . The great cathedrals, built over centuries, presented Bible stories and doctrine to illiterate the masses" ( Guerrilla Girls 19).However, cathedrals and churches were not the only artistic achievement of that time, "...many other arts flourished: religious objects, illuminated manuscripts,and tapestries, to name a few" (Guerrilla Girls 19).The Bayeux tapestry from the Medieval time period, and it is an important piece that is 200 feet in length and depicts the conquest of England by the Norman king William the Conqueror.

Bayeux Tapestry
    During the Renaissance in Italy, "One of few ways a women could work as an artist was to be born into a family of artists that needed assistance in the family workshop." ( Guerrilla Girls 29). A great female artist from this era was Artemesia Gentileschi who was a teenage prodigy and worked at her fathers atelier, and by the age of 17 she had finished many paintings including " Susanna And the Elders".
   As time progressed the acceptance of women in the art world was decreasing. Making it harder for the female artist , and with such objectification that men have put on these women.

                                                                        Work Cited

Chadwick, Whitney. Women, Art, and Society. 3rd Edition. United Kingdom: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1990.

Girls, Guerilla. The Guerilla Girls' Bedside Companion To The History of Western Art. England: Penguin Books., 1998 

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