Women, Art and Society by Whitney Chadwick

More on the Author:

Whitney Chadwick received her PhD from Pennsylvania State University. The University of Gothenburg awarded her a Honorary Doctorate. She is currently a Professor of Art at the San Francisco State University.

Here is a video of Chadwick discussing the photographer Lee Miller.

At the moment I do not have a plan as to how to tackle this book except to go through it and write what I see as important or what talk to me on a personal level.

The Academicians of the Royal Academy 1771 - 72
The Academicians of the Royal Academy 1771 - 72

So lets start…with the Preface.

In some sense this Preface answer the question why write a book on just women artists. Were they really excluded.

Angelica Kauffmann and Mary Moser was the only women among the creators of The British Royal Academy in 1768. In 1765, The Academy of Saint Luke in Rome, chose

Kaufmann as a member. She arrived in London in 1766, Van Dyck was her predecessor. She was a principal player in the decorative and Romantic strain of Classicism and was one of the artists that gave credence to Neoclassicism. Mary Moser was one of only two Flower painters accepted in the Academy.

Strangely Kaufmann and Moser were emitted among the male members nonchalantly gathered around the male models in Johann Zoffany’s “The Academicians of the Royal Aca

demy” (1771-72). Instead the women’s portraits were on the wall as part of the artworks. In fact women were not allowed to study the naked model, which formed the foundation of the academic education from sixteenth – nineteenth century.

The only other women allowed were in 1922 with Annie Louise Swynnerton as an associate member and in 1936 with Laura Knight was given full membership. As such Zoffany put the women where they has the least intimidation for men, namely as object and muses and not equal colleagues.   Zoffany’s work is representative of the view on women at that time.
Only in the 1970s feminist artists, critics and historians actively began to question this oblivious exclusion of women as producers of art and art history. “They challenged the values of a masculinist history of heroic art which happened to be produced by men and which had so powerfully transformed the image of woman into one of possession and consumption.(p8)”

to be continued…


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