Arte Gentileschi
"I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married." - Queen Elizabeth I
How to draft a CMS footnote
George Gower, Elizabeth I of England, c. 1588.











Exemplary 3 Point Essay

While initially many art historians have argued that the first cave paintings and art works have been made by men, mostly because a lot of these paintings feature hunting, and animals, some art historians are starting to think that instead these artworks were made by females. In the article "Were the First Artists Mostly Women," they say that, "Archaeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University analyzed hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers, Snow determined that three quarters of the handprints were female." (1) This completely disregards the initial thoughts that only men were the first artists. This also perhaps changes our perspective on Paleolithic women. While initially we assumed only men did the hunting, if women were also making these same drawings, that could mean women were also hunters as well, and that the status between males and females is only a more modern notion we have taken into account, and not true to the pre-historic times. This can also be seen in the  famous "Venus" statues of that period.  Featuring the female form with protruding breasts and stomach, art historians have latched on to the idea that these statues were made as either fertility symbols, devotions to goddesses, or even as some of the first erotic art for men. However, how can one argue that this was the case during the pre-historic era? If instead we think of these statues as if women were the artists behind them, we can paint a different picture. One that shows a love for the women's body, but not as an object for men. Instead, a symbol of how women were revered for their magnificent bodies, capable of producing life, capable of bleeding without dying. If we see these statues through a different lens, we can suggest that women had much more status and power than they did once the patriarchy was ingrained into our society,

1. Virginia Hughes, "Were the First Artists Mostly Women?" National Geographic, 2013.

Exemplary 5 Point Essay

In her essay Linda Nochlin points out the many societal factors that have led us to the circumstance of having no great female artists. One thing that she wants to be perfectly clear in the mind of the reader is that it is not that women were incapable of becoming great artists, nor were they simply forgotten to history or not reported on, but that women throughout history have been denied the tools to become great artists. For instance, “lady” artists in the 19th century were not allowed by prevalent art institutions to study nude models of any kind. This was at a time where it was believed by many that, “there could be no great painting with clothed figures,” ¹ obviously putting women at a tremendous disadvantage. Although less cemented in exact rules as the previous example, women in the last hundred years have been encouraged continuously to look at art as a hobby at most. The life purpose of women has been culturally engrained across western society solely to raise children, a notion that greatly discourages women from pursuing art as their life’s work the same way many men have gotten to. For the women who have gotten the chance to pursue art in history, these have come nearly exclusively through the hands of men helping open the doors that would otherwise not open for a woman navigating the art world on her own. Many sympathetic and artistic fathers and husbands have been the ones to help women get into art, and while this is the not unusually the case for men too, we see this nearly being the only route for which women were allowed into the art world.

One thing unique about art in general that Nochlin points out is that unlike poetry or music, often to reach the master level one must require a large set of tactile and observational skills in succession, such as would be learned in an artistic institution. So, while we often see many great women writers and musicians through history who were able to learn the skills of their craft on their own, women were often and frequently barred from art institutions, and therefore unable to reach a higher level of art through them. Not only were women actively discouraged from pursuing artistic careers through such obstruction, but much evidence of women’s work in the art’s has also been hidden or represented as male by historians, also discouraging women from embarking on a journey seemingly alone. Since little of the art historical record has ever been represented as being done by females, women are forced to see art as something that has been led by men throughout history, leaving women feeling unwelcome and alien to the art world.

¹Nochlin, Linda. “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays, 1971.











How does Artemisia Gentileschi's depiction of Susanna depart from tradition?
Identify the methodology that is being used to argue the following points:
Artemisia was 17 when she painted this "presentation piece"
  • Susanna is placed in the center and near the bottom edge so that viewer relates with her more than the other figures
  • Gentileschi removes Susanna from the garden
Bathing Susanna
1560 - 1562
  • Portrays Susanna as disgusted and horrified by the advances rather than as a seductress
before 1607
  • Presents Susanna as unwillingly exposed rather than allow viewer to gaze upon her with voyeuristic freedom
  • Composition implies third spectator, implicating the viewer
Artemisia Gentileschi,
Susanna and the Elders, 1610.











Judith and Maidservant
Judith and Maidservant
Orazio Gentileschi, Judith and Maidservant,
c. 1608 - 1609.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and Maidservant,
1612 - 1613.












Agostino Tassi, The Embarkation of a Queen, c. 1615.


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