Women in Art

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Topic One: Women in Art

The role of women in the Art is complex because artists were affected both by the art and stories of the past and the women that they saw around them every day. The influence of the various roles of woman produced some of the greatest art. Women had a different role in ancient Greek society than they do today. It also seems likely that the role of women changed radically from ancient, pre-classical times to the more familiar classical period. Classical Greeks were definitely patriarchal with women subserviant to men. Women obtained power only when they became the wife of an influential citizen or could obtain some influence by their relation to a man. They were restricted in their activities to mainly within the realm of a family or in the context of being a mistress to noblemen or men of wealth. In the religious aspect, women were not without their influence. Women are more likley the subject used in sacred rituals because these rituals would not be considered holy if performed by men, but prosper in women’s hands. Women mostly played the important roles, mostly having a rightful share in the services of the Gods. Archaic Greeks were not necessarily patriarchal. Their myths suggests there was time when the most powerful deities were thought to be women. The role of women in Greece can be studied by reviewing how women are portrayed in art. Ordinary women are portrayed as well as goddesses and more mythological creatures. It is also interesting that so many of the monsters of Greek myth are women. It is possible that these monsters are demonized goddesses who are considered founders or dominant members of a community. Both men and women are displayed as sex objects. Display of ancient Greek statues of nude women without heads increases our view of them as sex objects, but if Greeks put heads on them it will reduce their view of them as sex objects. For example, if an Amazon is a symbol of an enemy of the state then she could not be a...
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