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Women in Ancient Art

             For centuries, they have been worshipped, adored, treasured and admired. Women are the birth givers, the nurturers, and the teachers. They are wives, mothers, doctors, writers, artists, inventors, leaders, business owners, laborers, and soldiers. They are important to many. Because of this many artists have favored female subjects and many things they represent since the beginning of time. It should also be noted that the way a woman is portrayed in a painting reflects the status and roles of women in society. Female issues have been represented through art before any women's movements were ever established.
             During the Baroque Era, artists depicted women in their accepted social roles The artists displayed the emotions and inferiority of the female by showing paintings of a woman in the role of homemaker or mother. This standard of representation of the woman defined the woman's place in society. The Baroque artists depicted women in both positive and negative scenes. These positive and negative portrayals of women were shown to demonstrate the consequences of their actions depending on whether or not they followed their social roles. One artist of this time, Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, portrays a scene of a mother and her two daughters in the home, in his painting called Benediction (1740). http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?aid=85097&item=126293 In this painting, it shows a mother who has just prepared a meal and her two young daughters are sitting at the table, waiting. The older daughter watches as her younger sister pray. The mother looks very content. The scene demonstrates that women will find pleasure in simple everyday events. It strengthens the assumption that a woman's source of happiness is in the performance household duties, raising children, and through her devotion to religion. From a negative angle of representing women, artists would create scenes that showed the deadly consequences of a woman betraying her accepted social role.

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