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Homework Help: Solved 191522

While humanity has created an immense amount of artworks and, correspondingly, produced a considerable number of artists throughout its existence, women were not well represented in this field historically. In particular, the lack of great female artists is especially evident and notable in this respect. One may, if educated enough, find the examples of women painters or sculptors of note who have made their contributions to art and its historical development. Still, it would be hard to compare them to the acclaimed masters belonging to the other gender: there are no female “equivalents for Michelangelo or Rembrandt, Delacroix or Cezanne, Picasso or Matisse” (Nochlin 3). This fact begs a legitimate question of why, during the entire history of art, no great female artists ever emerged. The answer is threefold: women’s lower social station, economic status, and the lack of education limited their opportunities so that they were not able to develop their artistic talents to the same degree as the greatest of their male counterparts. The first overreaching cause of the absence of great female artist throughout history was the subjugated position of women as a gender in the majority of societies. While these societies not necessarily rationalized gender relations in terms of dominance and servitude, women generally occupied lower and less prestigious positions in them. For instance, men who sought contact with infants and children may pursue careers of pediatricians or child psychologists, but women comprised the mainstay of nurses and performed routine tasks (Nochlin 4). This example demonstrates how society, while not technically denying women various areas of occupation, may restrict their opportunities by generally assigning them lower positions with fewer ways for upward mobility. As a result, even in the relatively liberal ages and cultures, women interested in arts were more likely to become “volunteer museum-aides or part-time ceramists” rather than painters or sculptors (Nochlin 5). This social discrimination designating more prestigious and influential positions as unfit for women made it correspondingly hard to achieve success and acclaim in the world of art. Another cause, which is intertwined with and closely related to the first one, is an economic one: many women lacked the means to develop their artistic capabilities. Achieving greatness in art, just like any other field, requires devoting oneself wholeheartedly to the endeavor which, in turn, necessitates both sufficient material capabilities to support one’s existence and the abundance of time. Historically speaking, women rarely had access to both precisely because of their social standing as described in the previous paragraph. Less prestigious positions, such as a nurse compared to a pediatrician, tended to be both lower-paying and more time-consuming, thus depriving those who occupied them of both necessary prerequisites to develop their talents. Simply speaking, women did not have the good fortune of belonging to the middle or upper class, which would provide them with enough resources and sufficient leisure to engage in artistic pursuits (Nochlin 3). In this sense, the apparent underrepresentation of women among the great artists of all time owes much to their economic status and, more specifically, the limited means in their disposal. Finally, there is also an educational dimension to the absence of great female artists. Nochlin is right to identify education as one of the primary reasons why women could not compete with male artists throughout human history (3). Even though she interprets it in a broad sense as an overall indoctrination to society’s values, her assessment is still valid if one uses the narrower conventional definition of education as obtaining knowledge and skills. Get your 100% original paper on any topic done in as little as 3 hours Learn More Being a competent, much less a great artist requires extensive training in numerous disciplines, and this was exactly what women lacked throughout most of human history. In the absence of systematic upbringing that could develop their talents and without Virginia Woolf’s Room of One’s Own to develop them independently, women had next to no opportunity to refine their artistic capabilities. As a result, one may identify the lack of education in art as the last but not least reason why history knows no great female artists even though male examples are rather abundant. As can be seen, there are three primary reasons why human history did not produce great female artists, namely, social, economic, and educational. In social terms, the majority of human societies tended to assign women less prestigious and impactful positions, thus limiting their opportunities to achieve success and acclaim. Regarding the economic factor, women – mainly due to their social positions – lacked both the material resources and the leisure time to engage in artistic pursuits while feeling secure in their life and possessions. Finally, the lack of professional and systematic education or the opportunity to improve and refine relevant skills on their own also left women with little chance to become great artists. Due to all these reasons combined, the possibility of a woman becoming an artist of note, an equal to Michelangelo or Picasso, remained fairly negligible throughout human history. Work Cited Nochlin, Linda. Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? 1988.


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