Feminism and Art History Essay

1969 Words 8 Pages
The history of mankind has often been captured in snapshots between the rise and fall of great leaders and civilizations, by artists all with a common dream of portraying what they saw during their times. Ideologies reflective of their societies were depicted through sculptures, frescoes, pottery, paintings, and many other methods. Many of these principals were created, celebrated, and popularized by constituents of societies where andocentric values were applied not only to social and political mores, but also to the various art forms as the male body was cherished and praised and the female body was hidden away from public view. The book Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany edited by Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrad, strives …show more content…
Through images of the Roman working woman, Kampen illustrates that gender and social status affected the way women were portrayed in art. Kampen argues that placement, pose, gesture, costume and hairstyle all function as ways of identifying female vendors and separating them from customers as well as from upper class women (p.65). The author also shows how gender plays a huge role in the portrayals of working men and women, by explaining how male merchants show up frequently in art forms but there are no signs of female merchants. Females are seen in menial positions such as holding dogs on their laps or holding spindles, or sitting while their maids attend their hair, and Kampen interprets this as women portrayed as "…evidence of the wealth of their husbands in that they need do nothing but attend to their appearance and leisure" (pg. 69). Any profession that benefited humanity, either through education or medicine, was seen in as its own category and respect was not dependent on social class. Even slaves that were doctors or midwives were respected in the Roman society and that status could have been gender blind, according to the written works of Roman times including those done by Cicero, although the images depict women as "…matrons in portraits, or

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