Representations of Women in Antiquity

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Hannah Toriz Perez TA: Sophia Mccabe Intro to Art History 2/13/2013 2. Representation of Women in Antiquity

Art has been a tool used continuously throughout history to emit messages or ideas regarding cultural norms to public audiences, the ancient Greeks and Romans especially practiced this to reinforce values to the masses. Ancient art constantly attempted to exemplify certain attributions and characteristics people were supposed to have acquired in order to be respected in those given societies. The role of women was a common theme portrayed in many famous works of ancient art. Joan B. Connelly’s essay, “Parthenon and Parthenoi: A Mythological Interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze” and Natalie B. Kampen’s essay, “The Muted Other” both touch on the subject of women being represented in ancient art as examples of what was expected for women to appear as in society. In antiquity art, women were depicted as self-sacrificing, caring, and modest; these artworks sought to demonstrate the idealized behavior and role that women were forced to exhibit amongst their families and within society. One of the many ancient Greek architectural masterpieces was the Parthenon, built in 447-438 B.C.E.; it was located in Acropolis, Athens, Greece and served as the Temple of Athena Parthenos in honor of the goddess (Kleiner, p. 68).The frieze of the Parthenon had sculptures integrated with the architect depicting different mythological allegories that all had references to the goddess Athena. In Connelly’s she states that the east frieze of the Parthenon had no sources that confirmed the event that was taking place on this side of the frieze in what is now labeled as the, “Peplos Scene”, giving art historians freedom to concoct ideas of stories that could fit the scene (p. 55). One of the newer theories describes the scene as a mythological reference to the saving of Athens,...
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