When questioning the misrepresentation and non-greatness of art, you inevitably must end up taking into account multiple perspectives when defining greatness as traditional art history has. To truly understand the extent of the question, “why are there no great women artists?” you have to also consider how race, socioeconomic class, time period, education, etc. played into the perception of the artist. As Linda Nochlin states in her essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists”,
“When the right questions are finally asked about the conditions for producing art of which the production of great art is a subtopic, it will no doubt have to include some discussion of the situational concomitants of intelligence and talent generally, not merely of artistic genius.”
You see, to be a great artist one cannot rely merely on talent or impressive conquering of their medium; to be a great artist one must also appreciate and undergone the crux of success in our society, that is, education. Without education, a tool that has been relatively unavailable en masse to those without male genitalia, pale skin, or wealth, an artist could never hope to be great because their would be an innate lack of understanding and incompatibility to those with education. Education is the central dividing line between an artist and a Great Artist.
Ellee Banaszak, Hope College, Class of 2017
Photo by Nicolas Raymond