SMC Structural Barriers that Prohibited Women from Art Then and Now Discussion

Q.1 Thesis Essay Assignment #2: Women Artists Then and Now


Read Linda Nochlin’s article “Why Have There Been  No Great Women Artists?” in a careful and thorough manner.

As you read Nochlin’s Essay, consider these questions:

  1. What are some specific structural barriers that prohibited women from becoming artists before the contemporary era?
  2. What are some reasons that Nochlin gives that explain why a few women were able to circumvent the patriarchy to become professional artists?
  3. What are some notions and ideas that have priviledged men as artists?

Write a 2-3 page (500-750 words) paper that considers the three questions listed above.  Take care to include a thesis statement, or argument, in the introduction.  Your thesis does not have to be limited to a single sentence, and should include some of the thoughts you have pertaining to the prompt questions.  Use the introduction to state the thesis that you will defend in the body paragraphs.

In the body paragraphs, include quotations from Nochlin’s article that support your arguments.  Include the citation like this: (Nochlin, page #).  

In the conclusion, summarize your argument, and remind the reader of the points you made to support your thesis.  

Q.2 Discussion Thread: Who Would You Invite To Your Dinner Party?


Judy Chicago created an installation called The Dinner Party to show that narratives of history often exclude female identified figures.

She critiques the notion of the “Last Supper”, dominated by men, and imagines a dinner party attended by exclusively female guests.

First, read and watch the texts and videos cover Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party:

  1. Judy Chicago, The Dinner Party (Links to an external site.)
  2. Judy Chicago, Place Settings for The Dinner Party
  3. Artemisia Gentileschi and Judy Chicago (The Brooklyn Musuem)

Then, please answer the following question:

If you were having a dinner party a la Judy Chicago, which five historic female figures would you invite, and why?  Include a photo, artistic representation, or work of art by the five women you choose.  Your figures can be from history, contemporary life, entertainment, politics, sports, art, anything. 

Q.3 Comparison Essay, Judith Slaying Holofernes: Artemisia Gentileschi vs. Caravaggio 


First, watch and read the following videos and texts about Baroque Art, and the painters Artemisia Gentileschi, and Caravaggio:

  1. Introduction to Baroqe Art
  2. How To Recognize Baroque Art
  3. Caravaggio and His Followers
  4. Artemisia Gentileschi
  5. Caravaggio, The Calling of Saint Matthew
  6. Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes

Then, use the comparison images of Caravaggio’s and Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes to write a 250 word compare and contrast essay that considers the follwing prompt:

Scholar’s have sometimes positioned the work of Artemisa Genteleschi as exhibiting latent feminist content that empowers women and reflects the experience Artemisia Gentileschi had as one of the only female paitners of her generation.

When you compare these two paintings, is there anything about Artemisia’s painting that you beleive might demonstrate the empowerment of Judith and her maidservant, when compared to Caravaggio’s work?  Discuss whether you feel the interpretation of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith vs. Holofernes as a document of female empowerment is convincing, or not.

Q.4 Velasquez, Las Meninas: Short Answer Questions 


First, watch the video covering The Spanish Baroque painter Velasquez’s Las Meninas:

  1. Velasquez, Las Meninas

Then, please answer the followign questions about Velasquez’s most well known work:

  1. How does Velasquez play with the notion of perception in Las Meninas?
  2. Who is doing the looking in this scene?  How does Velasquez include the viewer in the scene in an entirely novel way compared to othr artists we have studied in this course?

Q.5 The Protestant Reformation: Short Answer Questions 


First, read and watch the course videos and texts that cover the Protestant Reformation:

  1. Introduction to the Protestant Reformation
  2. The Protestant Reformation, Part I (Links to an external site.)
  3. The Protestant Reformation, The Counter-Reformation (Links to an external site.)

Then, please use complete sentences to answer the following questions:

  1. Why did the Protestants want to break away from the Catholic church, even though they too identified as Christians?
  2. What were some of the consequences of the Protestant Reformation, politically and geographically?
  3. How did the Catholic Church respond to the Protest Reformation in the way it created and presented art and visual culture?