Essay about Women, Art, And Power

1186 Words May 12th, 2015 5 Pages
Differing from the late eighteenth century with radical views against women and the feminist movement, the Victorian Period saw women rise in power to become head of the domestic aspects of the family from running the shop they lived over to overseeing the work carried out by servants. Linda Nochlin argues in her essay, Women, Art, and Power, that the assumptions about the role of women in society are reflected in the art produced during that period. As women gained agency and became partners to their husbands, art also progressed to show women and their independence. An example of this transition can be seen in the portraits of Mary Wollstonecraft, a strong advocate for female rights. While alive, many of Wollstonecraft’s portraits were simple ones of her looking away from the audience. In 1883, long after she had died, German painter Otto Scholderer painted Lesendes Mädchen (Young Girl Reading) using Wollstonecraft as the subject and portrayed her as an independent, self-fulfilling woman. Scholderer’s work supports Nochlin’s argument by depicting Wollstonecraft with more than her head, painting exactly what she is looking at, and showing her reading a book which all reflect the shift in women’s roles during the Victorian period. As a female writer primarily arguing for gender equality through her treaties and novels, Mary Wollstonecraft was looked down upon by society and her personal relationships drew more attention during her lifetime. Beginning to write and…

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