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Gender in Art

Eighteenth And Nineteenth Centuries

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries there was a gradual shift from an emphasis on gender to an emphasis on class. This change in visual art during the period of Louis XIV A Roman Slave Market (1867) by Jean-Léon Gérôme. Oil on canvas. Issues of male dominance, feminine submissiveness, and societal repression of women were frequently addressed in the works of nineteenth-century artists. THE WALTERS ART MUSEUM, BALTIMORE (1638–1715) coincided with the emergence of a middle class in France. Increasing public appreciation was afforded women artists such as Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757), who was elected as a member of the male-dominated Académie Royale in 1720. Other significant female artists were Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun (1755–1842), who was commissioned to portray Queen Marie Antoinette and later on became a member of the French academy, as well as Angelica Kauffmann (1741–1807), one of the founding members of the British Royal Academy.

Sexism and patriarchism were prevalent in the nineteenth century. In his painting The Slave Market the French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824–1904) presents masculine dominance and male voyeurism in relation to female abuse. In Victorian English art, traditional binary gender distinctions prevailed (for example G.E. Hicks's The Sinews of Old England, 1757). Moralistic concepts of pure and modest womanhood, glorification of domestic life, and Christian ethics influenced gender visual imagery. In her painting War from 1883, Anna Lea Merritt highlights the Victorian ideal of female seclusion and spatial division of genders.

Such established gender types as the mother, the female as a lover or courtesan, and the femme fatale were often represented in Art Nouveau works by male artists such as the British illustrator Aubrey Beardsley (1872–1898) and the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862–1918). Erotic gender identities and reprentation of traditional male roles, as in Klimt's painting The Kiss, show a gradual transition. Reciprocal roles and interchangeable gender identities manifest themselves in the art of Art Nouveau.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Gastrula to Glow dischargeGender in Art - From Antique Through Classical Art, Middle Ages, The Renaissance And The Baroque, Eighteenth And Nineteenth Centuries