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Feminist Art History Essay

2101 words - 8 pages

Feminist art history-A literature review
This paper aims at exploring the works of some famous feminist art historians such as Linda Nochlin, Norma Broude, Griselda Pollock, and Rozsika Parker, who focused their literature on the issue of women and art history from the 19th century through the 20th century.
Broude states that female feminist art history students are of the belief that they have to rewrite art (Broude & Garrard 1982, 183). However, Broude and Garrard challenges this assumption by inquiring the “what and how” female feminist art history students would go about achieving the task of rewriting art, and what led to this notion of rewriting the history of art and what they intend to achieve by rewriting the history of art (Broude & Garrard 1982, 183). The notion of rewriting art history can be obtained from the accounts of Pollock and Parker that there have been variance in the affiliation and which are a product of social structures (Pollock & Parker 2013, 3). Thus in order to expose these differences art history has to be revamped.
Feminist inquiry in art history began in 1971 with Linda Nochlin’s article “why have there been no great women artists” (Peterson & Mathew 1987, 325). To answer her question she stresses that, “art is not a free autonomous activity of a super endowed individual influenced by previous arts or social factors, but rather art is an integral element of structure and is determined by specific social institutions such as arts academics, patrons, patriarchal culture or the myth of the divine creator” (Peterson & Matthew 1987,325), which means that art is not for everyone who feel they are talented enough to hold a manipulate brush strokes. However, Pollock and Parker stated that the Victorian women writers prepared the grounds for the dismissal of women’s art in the twentieth century, as a result of how they differentiated of women’s art from men’s art (Pollock &Parker 2013, 4), opposed to Nochlin’s conception that institutions led to the dismissal of women’s art. The Victorian feminist art writers attributed natural explanation to women’s arts by establishing that there are different spheres for women artist and male artist (Pollock & Parker 2013,4). Nonetheless, while Nochlin took a defensive approach in evaluating women and art, Parker and Pollock took an entirely different approach they examined women and art from a historical and ideological position (Peterson & Mathew 1987, 327). Pollock and Parker identified that the legacy of the Victorian views on women’s art resulted in a change of perspective from history to nature and from sociology to biology, thus instead of evaluating women and art through the lens of history and sociology, they are analyzed women and art in terms of nature and biology. Therefore, as a consequence people are of the belief that women lack of the talent and natural predisposition to create significant art, meanwhile not all Victorian...

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