Man Becomes the Measure
"The fault lies not in our stars, our hormones, our menstrual cycles, or our empty internal spaces, but in our institutions and our education." Nochlin, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists
"In the beginning, god was a woman." - Mary Kilbourne Matossian
Count Infographic due on Canvas, next Monday, September 21
Probably Inanna, Sumerian, c. 2,000 BCE.












Prehistoric humans employed a diverse range of materials and techniques while creating what we now call "art."
They drew and painted
Bison from the Altamira Cave, Spain, c. 15,000 - 10,000 BCE.











utilizing both abstract & realistic imagery.
Shaft of the Dead Man, Lascaux Cave, France, c. 19,000 BCE.











They often stamped impressions of their palms
Palm dots, Chauvet Cave, ca. 30,000 - 28,000 BCE.












and stenciled.
Hands at El Castillo
The smudged red disk below the hand stencils is the oldest cave art yet dated, at 40,800 years old. Located in El Castillo cave in the Cantabria region of northern Spain, this mark might have been created by Neanderthals.











They made subtractive sculpture
Engraved Ochre
Engraved Ochre from Blombos Cave, South Africa.
c. 75,000 BCE.  Length 4".











additive sculpture,
Neolithic Chinese Pot  c. 3500 BCE.











and even installation art!
Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England, c. 2000 BCE.











Given this diversity, why is it generally assumed that only prehistoric men made art?


Joseph S. Venus, Artisans of the Rock, contemporary.
Gravettian women and interior
What is commonly imagined.
Why not this as well?


More information on the possible roles of women in prehistoric cultures











How is our understanding of an object transformed when we can imagine a woman as the maker?


Venus or Woman of Willendorf,  25,000 – 20,000 BCE. 4 3/8” high. 


More on the discovery and the object






















Why would a prehistoric person (of any gender) have taken the time to make this?

In other words, what may have been some of the reasons an object like this was made?

Venus or Woman of Willendorf,  25,000 – 20,000 BCE. 4 3/8” high. 











Possible Moravian Hairstyles











Hohle Fels
Venus of Dolni Vestonice
Venus of Hohle Fels (Germany)
c. 35,000 BCE
Venus of Dolni Vestonice (Czech Republic)
c. 26,000 - 24,000 BCE












Why Venus?

Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.











Womanly form with Bison, Chauvet Cave

Werner Herzog, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 2010.











Artist's rendering of Çatalhöyük, Anatolia (present-day Turkey), ca. 6500 - 5500 BCE.
Woman of Çatalhöyük, c. 6000 BCE.











Humans are rarely depicted in paleolithic cave paintings, but many statues of women have been found
around the world from the neolithic to the ancient periods. Why?
  • Over one hundred such figures found, from Siberia to Spain
  • Made out of soft stones, small in size, and dating between 35,000 to 11,000 BCE
  • All having pronounced breasts, buttocks, and bellies, with no faces or feet.
The Venus Figurines
More on "Venus Figurines"

Venus of Moravany

Back of the Venus of Lespugue

Venus of Moravany (Czech Republic)
c. 24,000 - 22,000 BCE
Venus of Lespugue (France)
c. 23,000 BCE











Venus or Woman of Willendorf,  25,000 – 20,000 BCE.

pregnant woman












What if pregnancy was only a secondary (or unintended) connotative reference of these works?

Woman of Willendorf, 25,000 – 20,000 BCE.
Woman of Çatalhöyük, c. 6000 BCE.

Old Babylonian representation of Goddess Inanna (aka Ishtar), 1800 - 1750 BCE.