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Gender in Art

From Antique Through Classical Art, Middle Ages, The Renaissance And The Baroque, Eighteenth And Nineteenth Centuries

Gender, other than a biological or physical determination of the sexes, is a cultural and social classification of masculinity and femininity. Gender presentations in art are the outcome of the cultural process of defining sexual and social identity. Pictorial art and literature, as means of expression through transformation and stylization, are the predominant media reflecting this cultural process.

While the term gender refers to both sexes, the concept of gender issues has been primarily driven by a movement of women's emancipation and the twentieth-century emergence of feminism, as women have sought to obtain the rights, privileges, and unique forms of expression that men have enjoyed historically in patriarchal societies where class, race, and sexuality were defined by the dominant gender. The emergence of feminist art and art history since the 1960s has not only resulted in a re-appreciation of the representation of the woman as a subject, creator, and receptor of pictorial art but also has inspired a broader examination of gender-related issues in art through the establishment of gay studies and men's studies, where questions of homosexuality, heterosexuality, masculinity, femininity, and indeed sex itself all pertain to the concept of gender. The understanding of gender in art is thus intrinsically linked to the method and perspective of contemporary gender research.

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