There was a time when women were treated a little higher than slaves and if they were slaves they are treated a little higher than beasts of burden. This phenomena is described by former and current feminists as the byproduct of a world ruled by chauvinistic men. Leading advocates of the Women’s movement criticize the way men imposed rules and created insurmountable barriers so that women may never acquire the necessary tools that they may achieve equality. As a result there are only a few women of distinction in the sciences and the arts.
One could easily count with his or her fingers the number of great women scientists and inventors who with their work change the the course of history. In the latter part of the 20th century Linda Nochlin raised a very controversial question that can be seen as adding insult to injury. And she asked, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? ” But then again Nochlin can also be offering a new paradigm in trying to get a deeper understanding of how the world view women and how it should be made to see a different perspective, devoid of chauvinism of course.
Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists Linda Nochlin
This paper will attempt to answer the question posed by Nochlin. The proponent acknowledges that this will be achieved through the extensive use of Nochlin’s popular essay. The essay will be used as a backdrop in analysing what other writers had to say with regards to the topic. Introduction It is no secret that for the most part of world history it is rare to find women of distinction when it comes to the fields of endeavour that requires genius or serious talent. This is with regards to inventions, philosophical frameworks, political aspirations, etc.
But Linda Nochlin, it seems, is forcing the issue by framing a loaded question addressing the obvious lack of great women artists. Now, before delving deeper into the subject matter the proponent would like to clarify the basis for such sweeping generalizations. By saying that there have been no great women artists the proponent of this study is simply saying that there has been no record of women achieving the same status as those of the great masters from the Medieval Ages up to earlier part of the 20th century.
So that there can be no misunderstanding of what is meant by genius and greatness a list will be provided for comparison. The following list of masters serves as the standard when talking about exceptional talent and workmanship (see Morris, 1998, p. 29): DA VINCI (Leonardo Da Vinci) – He was born in Florence, Italy and worked in Milan. The world of art will never be complete without his Virgin and Child, Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper.
DONATELLO (Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi) – He was born in Florence, Italy and worked for twenty five years in the same area. His first major sculpture, the bronze David earned him the title as the greatest fifteenth-century sculptor of the human figure. MICHELANGELO (Michelangelo Buonarroti) – He was born in Caprese, Tuscany. He was considered as a versatile genius who worked in the Renaissance era. His masterpieces include the sculpture Pieta and the paintings in the Sistine Chapel – the Last Judgement.
RAPHAEL (Raffaello Sanzio) – He was born in Urbino, Italy. His masterpieces include the series of frescoes that can be found in the Vatican apartments. Nochlin’s Thesis Linda Nochlin started-off by fiercely attacking the erroneous notion that there may have been “great” women artists buried in the annals of history. Male chauvinism can be considered as a very powerful force in society but it is doubtful that even this social phenomena can be so potent as to rewrite history. Nochlin blasted the feminists for being carried away and forced on the defensive.
She ridiculed them by saying that, “The feminist’s first reaction is to swallow the bait, hook, line and sinker, and to attempt to answer the question as it is put: that is, to dig up examples of worthy or insufficiently appreciated women artists throughout history … to rediscover forgotten flower painters or David followers andmake a case for them… ” (Nochlin, 1988). But this is an exercise in futility because try as they may they cannot dig up one iota of evidence to support their claim. Simply put there is nothing to attest to the idea that they may have been great women artists in antiquity and afterwards.