The Gaze a Critical of the Female Figure in Art and Advertising

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Ideas and Perspectives Module
2012/2013
Claire Hynds

The Gaze
A Critical of the Female Figure in Art and Advertising

22/01/2013

Contents

Introduction………………………………………………………………………………4

Chapter 1: History of ‘The Nude’ within European oil Paintings………….....5-6 Chapter 2: Susanna and the Elders……………………………………………...6-10 Chapter 3: The Vanity of Women………………………………………………..10-11 Chapter 4: Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat……………………………………11-12 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………...13 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………….14

List of Illustrations

Peter Paul Rubens Susanna and the Elders (1636-40)……………………………..7 Artemisa Gentileschi Susanna and the Elders (1610)……………………………...9 Tintoretto Susanna and the Elders (1555-56)………………………………………10 Rubens Helene Fourment in a Fur Coat (1577-1640)………………………………12

Introduction
Women have often been observed in society as being different from a man. A man’s presence is seen as being a powerful force; whereas a woman’s presence has been depicted as being a physical emanation, a kind of heat. It has been said that from a young age a woman has been taught to constantly watch her every move, whether it be her walking across a room, or whilst weeping at the death of a loved one. To be born a woman was said to have been born within a confined space, or into the keeping of a man. Throughout history men have always surveyed a woman before they considered treating them. Consequently how a man treats a woman can be determined by many things, for instance if a woman is to throw a glass on the floor, this is how she expresses her anger towards a situation and how she would like it to be perceived by others, yet if a man was to do the same this would be read as an expression of his anger. As John Berger states in ‘Ways of Seeing’ (P.47) Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women themselves. “The surveyor of women in herself is male: the surveyed is female. Thus she turns herself into an object and most particularly an object of vision: a sight” (John Berger ‘Ways of Seeing’ Page. 47)

Chapter 1
History of ‘The Nude’ within European oil Paintings
In the history of European oil painting it has been said that women were known for being the primary and ever-recurring subject. In the subject of women they were best known for being painted in the nude. It is said that the first nudes to have been depicted in the history of art was that of Adam and Eve. John Berger has stated (P.47) that is was worth mentioning the story of Adam and Eve as told in Genesis: ‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons….And the Lord God called unto the man and said unto him, “Where are thou?” And he said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself…. Unto the woman God said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee” What is found striking about this particular story is how Adam and Eve become aware of each other’s nakedness the exact moment they take a bite of the forbidden fruit, as a result of this they saw one another in a completely different way. Nakedness was created in the mind of the beholder. What is also striking about this story is how the woman is blamed and made to suffer by being made to serve the man. As the traditions of paintings become more secular, other themes are offered up as an opportunity for painting nudes. But in all of them there remains the...
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