Linda Nochlin: Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?

Griselda Pollack: Feminist Intervention in the Histories of Art

Elizabeth Stuart, Hope College 2018

Describing feminism is something that has been difficult for many people to do. Before I entered into college, I must admit that I had a very shallow definition of what feminism actually was. However during my first year seminar course, Emma Watson helped launch the “He for She” campaign in a stunning United Nations address. I have admittedly watched that video more times than I can remember. However the ideas that she presents are still very much present today in the world, both in the art historical approach and in everyday life.

Reading through these two essays, the lack of female artist in the cannon of art history has never made more sense. Nochlin describes art as something that one must be trained in to be able to accept. If no one was allowing women into the studios, to paint nude figures, or even been given the same amount of time to devote to their work, then it makes complete sense that there are not many great women artists in the history of art. It is only recently that women have been liberated from the idea that they are supposed to devote the entirety of their time to creating a home and keeping their husbands and children happy. For women to be able to create art, they must have the time, training, and general public acceptance that the art that they are creating is something that deserves to be created. It will be fascinating in twenty or fourty years to look back on this time period, where women are just no fully gaining (though there is still a lot to gain) their equal rights, and see the comparasion between male and female work in this time period.

While there has not been many great female artists in history, in the present and future I doubt that this will be the case.


Source: Youtube- Emma Watson UN Address, 2014,         Street artist: DALeast- Feathers and Feminism

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