Clara K. Magliola
April 29, 2014
What Happened to All of the Great Female Artists?
It has become quite widely accepted that there have not been many, if any, great female artists. This ideology has typically festered among us as a result of our assumptions of what can be defined as good art. What classifies as “good art” and how have societal factors influenced our interpretations of art? As will be described more thoroughly throughout this essay, art exists beyond the patriarchal confines we are so accustomed to. So, as a result of this, we can assess that we lack great female artists because not only have we left them unrecognized either having their work claimed by their male family member or never seeing the light of day, but we have also discouraged women from pursuing passions that extend beyond gender roles.
Art has a very fluid definition, and even the broadest definition may tend to leave out some things that people may value as art. In essence, we can define it as some form of expression displaying creativity. To begin to understand how we have not been graced with many great female artists, we must ask why there appears to be an absence of females in history in general. Women’s contributions tend to be relatively non-existent from our basic education of history, so the questions to ask are: “Did women really do nothing? Or, was it a result of institutionalization and the emergence of a patriarchal structure that barred women from entry into the history books?” We must look at the underlying causes of this occurrence in order to understand what it means for female artists worldwide.