…Did You Know?
In art, women are easily the most used subjects and muses of great painters, from a Da Vinci to a Degas.
Popularized by the ancient Greeks more than two thousand years ago, lifelike and abstract women statues remain a very popular choice for decorating home or garden. Aside from their innate beauty, these feminine statues can be used as a symbol of nurturing, affection or any interpretation of the female woman.
The majority of the Venus figurines appear to be depictions of females, many of which follow certain artistic conventions, on the lines of schematisation and stylisation. Most of them are roughly lozenge-shaped, with two tapering terminals at top (head) and bottom (legs) and the widest point in the middle (hips/belly). In some examples, certain parts of the human anatomy are exaggerated: abdomen, hips, breasts, thighs, vulva.
In archeology, the term “Venus Figurines” is an umbrella description relating to Stone Age statuettes of women, created during the Aurignacian or Gravettian cultures of the upper Palaeolithic (c.33,000-20,000 BCE), throughout Europe from France to Siberia. The general similarity of these sculptures – in size and shape [obese or pregnant] – is extraordinary. They were carved by Stone Age sculptors in all manner of different materials, ranging from soft stone (steatite, calcite or limestone), bone, ivory, wood, or ceramic clays. The latter type are among the oldest ceramic works yet discovered.
Women from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment
- Throughout the majority of Western history, women were relegated in European society to the confines of the domestic sphere. Women were prohibited from enjoying any legal, political, or economic rights, and were primarily regarded as instruments for men’s happiness.
- Women were traditionally depicted as fitting one of two primary stereotypes—the highly sexualized seductress, or the chaste, virtuous mother, daughter, or wife.
- From the Renaissance through the Enlightenment, women did experience some improvement in their social position, particularly through the medium of literature; however, for the most part they continued to be denied access to the public sphere.